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The Land and the People 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 

[all eights reserved.] 








Wtivfo (Birition. ^ ^ 


CAS SELL & COMPANY, Limited-. 


[all rights reserved.] 

The Right Honourable SIR LOUIS MALLET, 

Late Under Secretary of State for India. 

My dear Mallet, 

With your permission I dedicate to you this book on 
India and its People, with a warm acknowledgment of the valuable 
assistance you have readily afforded me in the consideration of 
questions which for the last twelve years have engaged your 
constant attention. 

Believe me, 

Sincerely yours, 


3, St. James's Square, 
Oct. 1883. 


After the great famine in India of 1876-7, the 
author was invited by the Marquis of Salisbury, then 
Secretary of State for India, to become a member of 
the Famine Commission, which was appointed by Her 
Majesty's Government to inquire into the whole circum- 
stances of that calamity, with a view to the adoption of 
such means as might enable timely provision to be made 
to meet the inevitable recurrence, in that country, of 
seasons of dearth. The inquiry embraced the whole 
of India, and its results were embodied in the Report 
of the Commission, which has been laid before 

In traversing the country with the Members of the 
Commission, men eminent in their respective provinces, 
and two of them native gentlemen holding high office 
under native Princes, an unusually favourable opportunity 
for observation of the Land and the People was afforded. 
Whatever, at the time, appeared worthy of note was 
recorded in the author's note-book. And much was seen 

viii PREFACE. 

by a fresh eye, accustomed to seek reasons for diversity 
of systems affecting the prosperity of those engaged in 
the cultivation of the land, which is the chief business 
of the people of India. 

The author desires to take the reader with him over 
the same course, from the outset of his journey at 
Southampton to his arrival in India, and thence over its 
various provinces. In the final chapters some special 
features of the policy which should be kept in view in 
our dealings with India are set forth, and certain main 
principles also which the author recommended in regard 
to the treatment of famine, on which the Commission 
were not fully agreed. 

The chapter on Egypt in a previous Edition has 
been withdrawn to make room for the author's recom- 
mendations, in his Special Eeport, to Her Majesty's 
Government, respecting the future policy to be adopted 
in India. 

The author desires here to express his obligations 
to his colleagues on the Famine Commission, and their 
very able Secretary, Mr. C. A. Elliott, for the valuable 
assistance he received from them in his inquiries while 
in. India. 

3, St. James's Square, 

September, 1884. 



Wheat -Sowing in the Taptee Valley 




Nerbudda Valley— Jubbulpore 





Money - Lenders compared with 





Fine Crops iu Gangetic Plain 



Cawnpore, the " Well " 


Gibraltar . 


Agriculture of Neighbourhood 


Arrangements on Board 

Malta, Fortifications, Palace, and 


Irrigation Management . 
Sun-dried Cakes of Cow-dung for 






Port Said 


An Agricultural Village 


Suez Canal . 


Experimental Government Farm . 


Parliamentary Opposition to it in 

1858 ...... 



The Gulf of Suez 


Indigo and Opium 









Palace of Akbar .... 


The Indian Ocean 


The Pearl Mosque .... 


Evenings at Sea 


The Taj 


Contrast of the Present with the 



Gaols Overflowing from Scarcity of 





The Streets, Market, Sacred Tanl 

: 15 

Silent Sufferers .... 


Cotton Mill, and People employee 

I 16 

Suicide Common .... 


Malabar Hill .... 


Prison Management at Agra . 


Caves of Elephanta 


Deserted City of Futtapur Sekri . 


Native Ornaments sold for Food 


Women at the Well 


Payment of Rent in Kind 

. 20 

An Indian Village .... 


Native Villages, and Cattle . 

. 21 

Indigo Plantation .... 


Ascent of the Ghats 

. 22 

Natural Drainage blocked by Canal 

Nasick, the Godave 

;ry . 


Embankments .... 




Protection Afforded by Ganges and 
Jumna Canals .... 45 

Little Improvement in Condition of 
Cultivators .... 46 



Native and European Pay 

. 47 


. 48 

Rent and Agriculture 


A Punjab Farm, Food of People 


The Sikhs .... 

. 51 

Profitable Mode of Investment 


Village at Gujranwala . 


"Wheat- Sowing 


Cultivable Waste . 


Money-Lender and Cultivator 


Museum at Lahore 


Umritsur, "Water-logged Land 


Missionary Enterprise . 


The Native Collectors . 


Kappurtulla, a Native State . 


Hurdwar, Head of Ganges Canal 


Snow Melted "Water too cold foi 

Growing Crops in Summer . 



Workshops at Roorkee . 


Delhi, the Siege 


Kootub, the Highest Tower in the 

World .... 


Beauty of Country round Delhi 


Details of Market Farm . 

Native Judges 


Price of Fuel .... 




Ulwar, a Native State, its People . 67 

Jeypore 68 

The City and Palace ... 69 

The Roads and Irrigation . . 71 


Two Women Grinding at the Mill 72 

A Deserted City .... 72 

Ajmere, its Situation and Temples 74 
Mayo College for Youths of Princely 

Birth 74 

Scotch United Presbyterian Mission 75 

Sambre Salt Lake, Supply Unlimited 76 

Abolition of Hedge or Customs Line 76 

Bhurtpore and Johdpore . . 76 

Indian Forest Management . . 76 

Plan of Equalising Assessment . 77 
British Officers too much Confined 

to Desk- Work .... 78 
Thus Unable to acquire Knowledge 

of the People . . . .78 

Characteristics of People . . 79 



Lucknow ..... 80 

Talookdars of Oudh . . '. 81 

Their Embarrassments and Cure . 82 
Excellent Management of Maharaj ah 

of Balrampur . . . .83 
Too little Freedom left to Pro- 
vincial Governments 84 
Famine Relief Works only for the 

Strong and Able Bodied . . 84 
Troops of People coming to City to 

Market 85 

Talookdar of District . . . 85 

Grass -Cutters and their Pay . . 85 

Cultivator, his Crops, and his Well 86 
Evening Meal for the Cattle . .87 

Use of Cow-Dung for Fuel Justified 87 

A Brahmin Boy .... 87 

A Dissatisfied Suitor ... 88 

The House of a Rajah ... 88 

Farm beautifully Cultivated . . 89 

Travelling by Palki Dawk . . 89 

Fyzabad and Neighbourhood . 90 

Better Prospects .... 90 


Interference of Secretaries of Go- 
vernment deprecated . . .91 
Neither Parliament nor Public 

Opinion to criticise Departments 91 
The sub-Himalayan Plain conve- 
niently Supplied with Water . 92 
Special Products capable of De- 
velopment 92 

Adjudija, the Birthplace of the 

great Hindu Prophet ... 93 

Benares the Holy City ... 93 

A Bajah's Views of English Rule . 94 

Would prohibit Exports of Food in 

time of Famine .... 95 

Hindu Castes 95 

Rapid Drive to Ghazeepore . . 97 

Fine, well -cultivated Country . 97 

Opium Station and Factory . . 98 

Tobacco Plantation and Factory . 99 

Cost of Growth and Manufacture . 100 

Jhansi, its distressed Condition . 100 
Fifty Years hence . . . .101 


Number of Ryots under Ten Shil- 
lings of Rental . . . .101 
Cost to the Government of Perma- 
nent Settlement . . . .102 
Interests of Cultivators overlooked 102 
Rent and Wages . . . .102 
Estate profitably Reclaimed from 

Jungle 102 

Simple but Effective Sugar Mills . 103 
Small Farmers better off than Eng- 
lish Agricultural Labourers . 103 
The Mohawah Tree and its Fruit . 104 
The Soane Canal . . . .104 
Skilful and Industrious Villagers . 104 
Opinions of an old British Resident 105 
Collector here Governs Two Mil- 
lion Subjects . . . .107 
The Siege of Arrah . . .107 

Dinapore and Patna, rich Country 
Crossing the Ganges — Derbunga . 
Famine Relief Work by Planting 

Roadsides with Mango and other 

Fruit -Trees 
Extension of Railways in Favour 

able Localities 
View of Mount Everest, 29,000 

feet high .... 
Women doing the Heavy Work 
Sonthal, Summary Payment of 


Burdwan and its Rice Fields . 
Villagers with Four Years' Store of 


No Poor Law and no Poor 
Village Communities check Sub 

division .... 
Calcutta : the Cathedral 
Eastern Bengal very Rich Country 
Grandeur of River at Junction of 

Ganges with Brahmapootra 
Liveliness and Beauty of Scene 
Alluvial Land in the Valley of the 

Brahmapootra double the Extent 

of the Cultivated Land of Egypt 
Capable of Absorbing the Surplus 

of Bengal 

Three Coolies equal in Work to one 

European . ■ 
Extension of Jute Cultivation has 

Lessened area of Food 
Dacca and its Neighbourhood 
Union of small Holders against 


Salt Tax equal to a Sevenpenny 

Income Tax on the poorest 


Abundance of Fish in Rivers . 
Ingenious mode of Carrying Brittle - 


Backergunge swept by Storm- Wave 
Calcutta : the City and People 
The Park and Public Monuments . 





















The Hooghly and Bay of Bengal . 125 
Vizigapatam, Primitive Boats . 125 
Gay Processions on a Feast-Day . 126 
Rent paid by Cultivators to Land- 
owners 126 

Collector's District larger than 

Denmark 126 

Coconada, Seaport of Canals and 

Irrigation Works of Godavery . 127 
Beauty of the River at its Gorge . 127 
Extent, Quality, and Government 

Profit on Godavery "Works . 128 

The Kistna and its Irrigation . 128 
Buckingham Canal, 400 Miles Boat 

Communication with Madras . 128 
Madras, the new Harbour . .129 
The Coast for many Miles suitable 
for landing Cargo by Lighters, 
except in Gales at the Monsoon . 129 
Appearance of City from the Sea . 129 
Extent, Proportion Irrigated . 130 

System of Land Tenure . . .131 
Collectorates too Large in Extent . 131 
Sydapet Experimental Farm . . 132 
Its Instructive Lessons . . .133 
Effects of Cattle Manure in its 
Natural State compared with its 

Ashes 134 

Afternoon Party Five Miles from 

City 135 

Canals of the Cauvery as Described 

by the Duke of Wellington, 1804 135 
Erode to Trichinopoly . . .136 
View from the Rock of the Cauvery 

and its Affluents . . . , 136 
Its System the most Ancient, most 
Extensive, and most Profitable 

in India 136 

Great Hindu Temple more Gro- 
tesque than Awe-inspiring . 137 


Decline of Land Revenue from 
Sub-Division of Property . . 138 

Peculiar System of Entail in Native 
States on Western Coast to pre- 
vent Sub-Division . . . 138 

Madura — Christian Missions . .139 

Coimbatore — High Price of Land 
which has Right of Water . . 141 



Ascent of 8,000 Feet from the 


Coffee Plantations at 4,000 up to 

6,000 Feet .... 
The Convalescent Barracks . 
"Ooty" and its pleasant Neigh- 
bourhood .... 
Chinchona Plantation, Cost and 


Wynaad Gold Field 

The People who do not Change are 

the Peasants 
Subjection of the Women 
An Aboriginal Race, Wives with 

several Husbands 
Fearful Destitution during the 

Famine .... 
The City of Bangalore in Mysore 
In this State One -seventh of Peopl 

Died of Famine . 
Experimental Farming, Good Re 


Erroneous Principle of Govern 

ment Assessment 
Fine Farming in Penar and Palar 

Valleys .... 
Vellore, its Fort, Temple, and 

Mosque .... 
Excellent Prison Management 
Madras Observatory — Sun Spots as 

Indicative of Drought 
















Cuddapah, Rich Plain, but bad 
Reputation for Fever . . .151 

Madras Irrigation Company, Causes 
of Failure 151 

Black Cotton Lands retain Moisture, 
and are least Dependent on Irri- 
gation 152 

Condition of the People — High Price 
of Food Enriches the Producer, 
but Impoverishes the Landless 
Class 153 

Dates Distilled into " Toddy," the 
Favourite Drink of the People . 154 

Brahmin Water- Carriers at Rail- 
way Stations . . . .154 

Bellary, Railway Extension to Car- 
war 154 

Great Poverty of Landless Class 
and Smaller Landholders after 
Famine 154 

Two Distinct Phases of Humanity 
in same Village . . . .155 

A Missionary's Opinion of the 
People 156 

Cotton Cultivation .... 157 


nizam's country. 


Increase of Population not 
couraged on Poor Land 

Revenue, Population, and Extent 

Combined Force at Disposal of 
British Government by Arrange- 
ment with Nizam 

Berar the Richest Province 

Coal and Iron about to be Developed 
by Extension of Railway 

The City of Hyderabad . 

Breakfast with Sir Salar Jung, his 
Palace and Stables 

Price of Provisions at Hyderabad 







Sholapore, Seat of Cotton Factory 164 
Wages as Compared with Lanca- 
shire ...... 164 

Good and bad Farming compared. 165 
Black Soil in Rains too Sticky for 
Wheel Conveyance — At Kaludgi 
5,000 Men carried Corn from 

Station 166 

The Deccan — Ahmednuggur . 166 
Opening of New Water Works . 167 
Comparison of our Rule with that 

of the Dutch in Java . . .167 
The Money-Lenders Charge accord- 
ing to Value of Security . .168 
Cause of Financial Difficulties . 169 
The Interest Due to Money-Lenders 

nearly Double the Land Rent . 169 
Example Farm at Kandeish, and 

its Lessons 170 

American Missions . . . .171 
The City and Climate of Poonah . 172 
Lake Fyfe and its Canals . .172 
The Mahrattas in Former Times 
Harried the Cultivators on the 
Plains — Now Kept to their own 
Land without that Remedy for 
the Natural Poverty of Country 173 
Punchayet Courts recommended by 

Native Society of Landowners . 174 
Legal Expenses and Compound In- 
terest 175 

Seventy-five per cent, of Occupiers 
of Poorer Land hopelessly In- 
debted, and passing from Ryots 
to Labourers . . . .176 
A Plague of Rats has Increased the 

Loss 177 

The Forest Department, Caution 
required in taking up Land for 

Planting 178 

Deep Ploughing with Eight Bullocks 179 



Descent of the Ghats : the Taptee 

and Nerbudda Rivers . . .180 
Great Iron Railway Bridge . .180 
Cultivation with Well Irrigation . 181 
Memadabad— Collection of Revenue 181 
Violent Assault for Trespass . .182 
Kaira — View from Collector's Roof 182 
Hindu care of Life of Lower 

Creation 182 

Gne Cause of Female Infanticide . 183 
Dissatisfaction with English Rule . 183 
Ahmedabad, Former Seat of the 

Kings of Guzerat . . .184 
Successful Employment of Natives 

on Railway, and their Sobriety . 184 
Surat, the Earliest Seat of English 

in India 185 

The Dutch and English Tombs . 185 
Fine City on Navigable River, Roads 

very bad and River silting up . 185 
The Revenue Officer preferred to 

the Judicial Court . . .186 
Moonsiffs and Pleaders . . . 187 
Picturesque Country towards Bom- 
bay 187 

Bassein, a Deserted Portuguese 

Town 188 

Bombay, Fine Situation . . 189 

Sea Point of Malabar Hill . . 189 
Adieu to Sir Richard Temple, and 

to India 190 



Short Review of the Famines since 

1800, and their Management . 190 
That of 1803-4 same region as 1877 190 
1813, 1833, 1837, 1861. In these 
the Government provided Em- 
ployment for Abie-Bodied, and 
left the Helpless to the Charitable 
Public 192, 193 

In the Last, and in that of 
1866 - 7, Relief was given in 
Cooked Food, which was Re- 
pugnant to Religious Feelings 
of People 193 

The Orissa Famine of 1866 found 
every one Unprepared, and One 
Million People Died . . .194 

With the Famine in Western and 
North- Western India, 1,600,000 
Deaths in 1868-9, the Economical 
System closes . . .196 

Famine of 1873-4: large Expen- 
diture, but no loss of Life, 
under Viceroyship of Lord 
Northbrook . . . .196 

The Great Famine of 1876-8 in 
Bombay, Mysore, Madras . .198 

North-West Provinces . . .201 

Treatment, Expenditure, Mor- 
tality ; Review of Famine 
treatment ... . 202 

Maintenance of the Village System 
Essential to the Preservation of 
Life 208 

It is also the most Economical . 208 

If no Labour exacted, Five Millions 
will be kept Alive on what would 
be Consumed by Four who are 
kept at Work . . . .209 

One Million Lives might thus be 
Saved by giving up Ineffective 
Labour 209 

Immense Advantage of this to other 
parts of the Country also . .210 

The Annual Sum set aside in India 
for Famine Relief is not more 
than One -fiftieth per Head of 
the English Annual Expenditure 
in Relief of Poor . . .210 

This Plan strongly Recommended 
in Future Famines . . .210 

Village System, the Central Basis 
of Relief, should be Strengthened 210 





The Land in Gangetic Plain, and 
its Tributaries, Supports the 
Larger Half of the Population of 
India, and is Twice as Populous 
per Square Mile as the Native 
States .211 

The People Increase Faster than 
their Food 212 

In some parts of Country the Land 
is Undergoing Deterioration . 213 

This is Aggravated by Unrestrained 
Subdivision of Holdings . .213 

Emigration to Tropical Colonies, 
and Migration to Eich Jungle 
Lands Eecommended . . .214 

Improved Cultivation, and a Pro- 
gressive Yield might be Effected 214 

Laws Affecting Property and Debt 
not Adapted to Native Condition 215 

Native Officers, One in Ten 
Thousand of People; British 
Officers, One in Two Hundred 
Thousand 216 

Patriarchal System Superseded . 217 

Produce Eents had certain Advan- 
tages 219 

Power to Pawn the Land by the 
Cultivator 219 

Has made Him the Slave of the 
Money-lender .... 220 

Systems of Land Tenure . . 221 

Mode of Lessening the Cost, and 
Difficulty, of Ee- assessment of 
Land 222 

Helpless Condition of the Landless 

Labourer 223 

Opening up of Access to Good 

Jungle Land .... 223 
Exhausting System of Agriculture 
generally Practised . . . 224 

Excessive Number of Population 
Employed in Cultivation of Land 

in India 225 

Conversion of Tenure to Freehold 226 
Eesult thereof Pecuniarily . .227 
Public Advantages of . . . 228 
Substitution of an Improving for 
an Exhausting System . . 229 



Comparatively Low Bate of Assess- 
ment on Water-fed Crops . 

Advantage of "Well" Irrigation . 

Industrial Crops, Extension of 

Irrigation of Cotton Crop Eecom- 

Growth of Green Fodder for Cattle 

Changes Suggested . 235 to 242 

Comparative Extent of India, and 
Varieties of Language, Eace, 
and Eeligion 

Mr. Bright's Speech in 1858 

Gradually taking Effect 

Lord Mayo's Action in 1870 

Provincial Eesponsibility 

Annual Invasion of Two-and-a- 
half Millions of Mouths 

Sir Louis Mallet's Minute in 1875 . 

State Proprietorship Stimulates an 
Increase of Population 

Private Ownership Eestricts it 

The Supreme Object of Govern- 
ment should be to Accelerate In- 
crease of Subsistence, as Com- 
pared with Increase of Population 

Public Debt of India very 
moderate, and the Public Ex- 
penditure obtained largely from 
sources which are not a Tax on 
the People 249 








The Land and the People 

chaptek I. 


On the 10th of October, 1878, I embarked at South- 
ampton on the steamship Bokhara for Bombay. We 
had a severe gale going down Channel. By the afternoon 
of the 11th we entered the Bay of Biscay, the ship 
rolling heavily though the wind had ceased. Next day 
there was a fine easterly breeze, the ship carrying all 
sail, with a smooth sea in the middle of the famous Bay. 
We passed Finisterre on Sunday morning, with a full 
cabin at the morning service, and were off Oporto as the 
sun went down, followed by a most lovely night, the 
full moon shining over the great expanse of calm but 
sparkling sea. 

The morning of the 14th opened with lovely 
weather, the ships in sight all converging to the same 
point or coming from it — the entrance to the Straits. 
We pass a long range of coast, with Cape St. Vincent 
at the end of it, and in the background the last of a 


mountain range, culminating in Monchique, 3,000 feet 
high. The cape is a bleak spot — not a tree or shrub 
to be seen on the long promontory where the lighthouse 
fronts the Atlantic, at a height of 100 feet on a solid 
rocky precipice, outside of which is a tall, pointed rock. 
Passing another bay the land recedes, and we stretch 
across the open sea towards Cape Trafalgar, where the 
" foremost sailor since the world began " fought his last 
great sea-fight. 

Early on the 15th we were running into the 
anchorage at Gibraltar. The bareness and barrenness 
of the rock surprised me. It is literally a rock, with 
here and there scattered bits of brown vegetation, and, 
near the bottom, with clumps of acacia. The houses 
stretch behind the fortifications on the shore, where 
the water looks deep all along. Every shelving opening 
is faced with a crenellated wall. Landing from the ship 
your boat is rowed toward the walls, shoots round a 
corner, and lands you in a quiet little bay inside. 
Cabs are on the quay, which whisk over drawbridges 
and through openings in the walls, and then you are 
in the town. At every corner the red coat appears, 
and the streets have all English names — King Street, 
Queen Victoria Street, Church Street. Mules and the 
donkey are the beasts of burden. You buy nice sweet 
grapes in the market, 4 lbs. for sixpence. The chief 
articles are potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, pomegranates, 
water-melons, and poultry. The country people look 
poor. The Governor with his aide-de-camp are going 
their morning round, 7 a.m., the guard turning out at 


each post. We were too early for the galleries of the 
fortressed rock, which are not shown before nine. But we 
saw the embrasures, along the mountain face, at great 
heights, through which the guns are pointed. 

There is a neutral flat of ground of considerable 
space between the English and Spanish lines, beyond the 
latter of which, and within reach of modern artillery, is 
another rock on the Spanish side, nearly as high and 
large as Gibraltar itself. On this side the fortress is 
thought to be not impregnable to modern science and 
artillery. We drove to the back of the rock on the 
Mediterranean Sea, where the rock becomes a sheer 
precipice from near its summit, 900 feet high. 

On the African side of the Straits rises a similar 
rocky promontory — Ceuta. The Straits are thus naturally 
provided with a fitting gateway from the ocean to the 
great inland sea, through which, inwards and outwards, 
is passing the traffic of widely-severed lands. The Bay 
itself includes the Spanish town of Algesiras, sparkling 
white in the sunshine, a gay contrast with the more sober 
hue of the brown Gibraltar. We leave it rapidly behind 
as we speed out into the Mediterranean, with a strong 
wind carrying us along. During the night there was 
heavy rain, with thunder and lightning, which cleared 
the air, ushering in with brightness the new morning. 
The wind has fallen and the air is warm. 

The arrangements for the comfort of the passengers 
on board are excellent. There are about 100 first class, 
and 50 second class, and as many children of both 
classes. Tea is to be had at six in the morning, break- 


fast at nine, luncheon one, dinner six, and tea at half -past 
eight. The cookery is good, and all served hot and 
plentiful. The cook's place, in which all is done, is not 
the fourth size of an ordinary kitchen. Everybody is 
well served, and the waiting at table is good — a steward 
to every six persons. The air is so warm (October 19th) 
that, though the wind is blowing half a gale, all the 
ventilators are open, and sitting in your chair on deck 
the breeze fans you, and the draught never seems to injure 
you. There are awnings all along the deck, and an 
apron put below them on the sunny side to more 
effectually keep out the sun. 

Algeria is on our right, and we sail along its coast 
the whole day and night, passing Galita early in the 
morning, and Zembra, an island at the mouth of the Bay 
of Tunis. A high mountainous range is seen in the 
background behind the cultivated coast-line. We round 
the northernmost point of Africa, and next morning are at 
anchor in the harbour of Malta, after going slowly along 
a yellow rocky shore, through a lovely clear calm sea. 

The wider view of the city from the deck is very 
picturesque. It is a mass of fortifications, with an 
outer and inner harbour, behind which the town rises to 
some height. At the highest point are the quarters of 
the artillery, where we were hospitably invited to break- 
fast. It is the old Auberge de Castile, the former 
palace of the Knights of Spain in Malta, and very 
spacious and splendid. The streets are very picturesque, 
though narrow and steep. The houses are solid and 
large, and all with pretty varieties of covered balconies 


on the different storeys. The palace, now the residence 
of the Governor, was the ancient palace of the Grand 
Master of the Knights of Malta, whose throne-room is 
still extant. It is in the centre of the city, the place in 
front of it adorned with oleander trees, now covered with 
their pretty pink flowers. 

Near it is the great church, the gem of Malta. It 
is quite beautiful — one grand hall ; no pillar to interrupt 
the sight or sound. At the altar end it is magnificent — 
beautiful sculpture, beautiful colour, marble, gold, lapis 
lazuli, grand roof, and all along the two sides of the 
hall a special chapel for each country which sent forth 
Crusaders. Each chapel seems more lovely than the other, 
with Raffaels, Domenichinos, sculpture, gold, and precious 
stones : not railed off from the grand central hall, but 
yet each, in its recess, distinct. The whole floor of the 
hall is paved with marble slabs, on each a shield with 
the name and title of the Knights, several of whom 
are English — Earl Beauchamp, Merivale, and others. 
The whole is kept in the most excellent order, the 
revenues of the Archbishop and church being large. 

The rock of the island is a soft freestone, which is 
hewn almost as you could hew wood with an axe, when 
it comes fresh from the quarry. After exposure it 
becomes hard and tough. But the ease with which it 
can be wrought has enabled the people to build them- 
selves grand and solid houses. 

We had not time to visit the Bay where St. Paul 
landed from his shipwreck, which is five miles distant 
from the city. There can be no doubt, on tracing the 


voyage on the chart, that it was on this island the 
' barbarous 9i people received the Apostle and his 
companions so hospitably. Melita is still the name of 
the island. But the Eoman Catholics, who have been 
so long dominant here, and who show such reverent 
care for their Cathedral, have raised no special memorial 
in the Bay. 

Next day we were off the Lybian Desert, thermome- 
ter, 2 p.m., 76°. A lovely calm day, with just breeze 
enough to temper the great heat. We are now beginning 
to taste the climate of Asia, putting away the English 
and getting out the Asian clothes. 

Next morning we are nearing Port Said. The sea 
has lost its rich blue colour, and has become light green, 
and less transparent. We have now passed the mouths 
of the Nile, and, though 80 miles from shore, the mud 
of the great river still tinges the sea. There is a piano on 
deck, on which the ladies in turn discourse sweet music. 
Every one is now at home on the sea, and the weather 
is so fine, and the sea so smooth, and the ship so easy, 
that all enjoy it. 

In the morning of the 23rd of October we were off 
Port Said; thermometer, 7 a.m., 75°. I was called at five 
to see the first of the land of Egypt, and the entrance 
to the famous Suez Canal. The sun had not risen, but 
when he rose his splendour cleared all haze away. 
The lights on the lighthouse and light-ships were at 
once extinguished, and numerous steamers and vessels 
were descried, all converging on Port Said. On the 
right a long breakwater stretches out, made of large 


blocks of concrete laid loosely in rows. The shore is 
sand, all is sand, low sandy coast. The first living- 
creature to be seen was a dog, then another, exactly of 
the wolfish type one sees on the Egyptian marbles. 
Native boats, laden to the gunwale, stretch away seawards. 
We pass the lighthouse, then all kinds of temporary 
Eastern houses, and on the shore a crowd of bare-legged 
people with picturesque turbans on their heads. Por- 
poises play about the ship as we come in, and small 
birds of various foreign aspect light upon our decks. A 
large steamship of the Ducal line, which we overtook at 
Cape St. Vincent and passed, and which again passed us 
while lying at Gibraltar ; again overtaken by us before 
we reached Malta, and passing us whilst there ; again 
overtaken, and passed by us in the night, is now seen on 
the horizon following us in. 

At 3.30 p.m., thermometer 81°, we are working 
through the Canal : a most difficult navigation in any 
part, but in the straight runs, there is so little room, and 
going at little over four miles an hour, not steerage-way 
for a long heavy ship. We were for a short time stuck 
fast. Part of the way the banks were rich alluvial soil, 
but, the climate being rainless, without vegetation. 
Nearing Tsmailia we pass for miles along banks of 
barren sand, stretching away as far as the eye can reach . 
Here is a ferry across the Canal to serve the track from 
Jerusalem, which may have been trodden by Joseph 
when, with Mary and the infant Jesus, he fled to 
Egypt. Troops of loaded camels pass along the banks 
of the Canal, driven by picturesque Arabs. The lakes 


skirted by it are shallow, and immense flocks of 
flamingoes and pelicans, countless in number, stand 
fishing in the waters. The privilege to fish and take 
wild fowl in these lakes is let for £60,000 a year. 
A group of children follow the ship along the bank, to 
pick up apples or oranges thrown to them, clothed 
literally in nothing but their own dusky skin, clean- 
limbed and active. They are attended by a serious 
looking dog, which runs straight after them, takiDg no 
heed of anything but them. Once he seemed to find the 
steady pace too warm for him, and he hopped down the 
bank and ran along within the edge of the water for 
a while, and then jumped up and resumed his business- 
like attendance — a wolf -looking dog, but with evident 
sympathy for his dusky human friends. At Ismailia 
the fresh-water canal from the Nile, which supplies 
all the inhabited part of the desert with the only 
water it possesses, pours its superfluity into the great 

The Suez Canal is, indeed, a work more wondrous 
than all the other wonders of Egypt. This grand water- 
way, which connects the vast commerce of the East and 
West, is now also a salt-water boundary between Asia and 
Africa. The anticipated difficulties of keeping it open 
have not been experienced. The sand does not blow in 
in any quantity which cannot be taken out with ease, 
and at little cost. And the generous character of the 
great engineer who constructed it is shown by his 
acknowledgment of the earlier efforts of the English 
Lieutenant Waghorn who established the overland 


route, by the statue of him erected by M. de Lesseps, 
in acknowledgment of these efforts, near the eastern end 
of the Canal. I recall the debate in the House of 
Commons on Mr. Eoebuck's motion, 25 years ago, when 
only one-tenth of its members supported this scheme, 
which is already unparalleled in the beneficence and 
grandeur of its results. It was vigorously opposed by 
Lord Palmerston and Mr. Disraeli, and declared to be 
physically impracticable by Robert Stephenson, the 
engineer. But it was supported with clearer prescience 
by Mr. Gladstone, Lord John Eussell, Mr. Bright, Mr. 
Roebuck, and Mr. Milner Gibson. Among the more 
distinguished of its supporters who have now passed 
away were Sir James Graham, Sidney Herbert, W. J. 
Fox, Sir Charles Napier, W. S. Lindsay, and General 
Thompson. Among those who voted for it, and are 
still with us, were Mr. Hastings Russell, now Duke of 
Bedford, Mr. W. E. Baxter, Mr. Ayrton, Sir Robert 
Collier, Mr. Dilwyn, Mr. Kinglake, Lord Arthur Russell, 
Sir John Trelawny, and myself. The only member of 
the present Government who voted on either side was 
Mr. Gladstone. These were the " waifs and strays, not 
then looked upon as good company in any assembly of 
politicians," quaintly referred to by him in the recent 
debate on the Suez Canal. 

Entering the Red Sea, which we did at the full 
height of the sun, the effect of colour was singularly 
beautiful. The sea itself in the Gulf of Suez under this 
light is bright green. The Bay, forming the wide arc of 
a circle, is edged by a broad border of bright yellow sand, 


and thence to the summit of the mountain range, nearly 
4,000 feet high, the colour is the hue of red. The effect 
of the green, yellow, and red in the sunshine, on so grand 
a scale, is wonderfully fine. 

Oct. 25th, 9.30 p.m., therm. 78°, Eed Sea. The junc- 
tion here with the passengers from Brindisi has nearly 
doubled our numbers. A bishop, a judge, and other con- 
siderable peojDle have joined. A fine breeze blows behind 
us all day, but not oppressively hot, not more so than 
a very warm sunny summer day at home. Except for the 
barren deserts of sand, the outline is not unlike Loch 
Lomond at its widest part, but the serrated ridges of 
mountain behind are absolutely bare — no grass, bush, or 
vegetation, nor sign of fresh water, or human habitation. 

From the judge of the High Court at Calcutta, to 
which all appeals finally come, I learn that nine-tenths 
of the litigated cases in India are decided by native 
judges, who hold the courts of first instance, in all cases 
not of a criminal kind. The native judge is said to be 
in some cases timid, and afraid of criticism, and apt, if 
called to account, though in the right, to offer excuses 
with too little regard to the facts. Such men require 
to be steadied by association with a British judge. 

An Indigo planter on board tells me that his father, 
forty years ago, took up a grant of 60,000 acres of land on 
the borders of Nepaul. The land has now been cleared, 
and is let to natives, who, besides their food, grow 
indigo for him. He makes advances to them, and 
takes the crop at a price according to quality, and 
prepares it for export, with a good profit. He likes 


the people, but says they are improvident, and that 
nothing will teach them care or saving. They live for 
the day, and think of nothing beyond it. There is a 
German missionary on his estate who is an excellent 
man, but he has no success except with the young in 
schools. The Zenana Mission is conducted by the 
missionary's wife, and with more success, as the native 
women, even of the higher class, are very ignorant, and 
can ouly be reached by female teachers. 

On the deck, under the awning, as the ship speeds 
on her way, much may be learned from the conversa- 
tion of men of experience on board. Here is an opium 
and indigo civilian officer, who has been nine years 
among the cultivators, and likes and pities them. They 
are so poor that they dare not resent oppression, and 
there is no public opinion on their side. In Behar, in 
this officer's district, there are 60,000 acres of indigo 
and 45,000 of poppy, the cultivation of both being 
carried on by the ryots under advances ; the first 
from the planters, the second from the Government. 
The best land is used for the poppy, and the second 
quality for the indigo : the poppy gives much the 
best return to the cultivator at the price paid to him 
by the Government, who, in their turn, sell it by 
auction at Calcutta, with an enormous profit. 

An irrigation officer describes the country in which 
his work has lain. Water can always be found in 
Behar within thirty feet of the surface, and wells that 
depth, of dry masonry, cost £9, inclusive of material 
and labour. A well suffices for five acres of land, and 


a family with a well, and that extent of land, can 
protect themselves against famine. Not more than 
one-third of the holding shonld he irrigated each year, 
especially if from canals, so as not to exhaust the land ; 
for the ryot cannot find manure for more than one- 
third, and the water is always most profitahle when 
applied to the manured land. The indigo cultivation, 
if unmanured, rapidly exhausts the land. Wheat, at the 
present cost of carrying from the interior, cannot he 
thinks be profitably exported to England when the price 
there is not more than forty shillings a quarter. But 
there is great scope in Assam and Burmah for the 
extension of business of all kinds. No one has yet been 
able to devise a method for the release of the poor culti- 
vator from the domination of the native banker. 

Sunday evening, 27th Oct., off Mount Elba (7,000 
feet), Nubia, 10 p.m., thermometer 90°. This is the 
hottest day we have had, with very little wind. Away 
in the west there is a sudden great flush in the sky, 
answered by another some miles farther north. This 
has been going on at regular short intervals for the 
last two hours. There is no thunder audible. The sea 
is smooth ; the sky cloudy and without stars. The 
punka is kept constantly going during meals ; and very 
refreshing are the raspberry ices at lunch. The next 
two days are still hotter. In the early morning we pass 
a tall rocky islet ; in the forenoon the Twelve Apostles, 
a cluster of picturesque volcanic islands. At 8 p.m. we 
sight Mocha, famous for its coffee, pass Perim at mid- 
night, and expect to be at Aden in the morning. 

ADEN. 13 

When the ship dropped anchor we were at once 
surrounded by native boys from Aden, in canoes, from 
which they dive with wonderful quickness for coin 
thrown over into the sea for them. They are lively 
black shiny fellows, whom the sharks won't touch. 
Aden is a volcanic peninsula, joined by a low strip of 
sand to the mainland of Arabia. It rises in a succession 
of hills to a peak at least 1,000 feet high. There is a 
fine deep harbour, with depots of coal on the quays, and 
supplies for the British navy. Rain seldom falls here, 
and there is not a spring of water. But there are great 
tanks, cut in the solid rock, to store the rain when it does 
fall. The main supply, however, is got by condensing 
the sea- water, which, when deprived of its salt, is 
wholesome. Aden is an outpost of India, a strong place, 
garrisoned by artillery and troops, the gate of the Bed 
Sea thus kept safe for England. 

We landed in the Governor's boat, in a bay below 
his house. The sand, as I leapt ashore, felt like a hot 
furnace. But, on ascending the rocky hill on which the 
Residency is placed, the air in the breeze was more cool, 
and life more endurable. A verandah surrounds the 
house, which is a series of lofty open apartments, one 
after the other, kept cool by a lattice- work of " tatties " 
on the outside. Here, on a barren rock, projecting into 
the sea from a long spit of land in Arabia, without a 
particle of verdure, must the watchman of the gateway 
dwell during his five years incumbency as its guardian. 
Our party was received with much kindness and hospi- 
tality by General Loch. There was the luxury of ice 


iii plenty, and very delicious ; and we were waited on by 
natives in the most noiseless and attentive manner. 

The same evening we were steaming out to the Indian 
Ocean, the moon shining from a starlit sky on a sparkling 
line of foam straight behind us, a German gentleman 
singing his spirited Ehine song with a fine voice on the 
quarter-deck. In the hot weather many of the passen- 
gers sleep on deck. Next morning the captain was 
exercising his men at the boats, and then had the fire- 
alarm bell rung, every man running to his quarters. 

November 3rd the ship is stopped. Some bearings 
have become overheated, and as there is time to spare we 
stop to let them cool. The ship lies rolling in the swell 
without forward motion. Croakers are saying that some- 
thing has gone seriously wrong with the engines, and as 
we have 800 miles still to go, and a head wind, they 
reckon we may take a fortnight, may be a month, to do it. 
The water is deliciously clear and blue, and lo ! a great 
shark swims slowly up, attended by a group of sparkling 
fish, like herrings in size, that always follow him. A 
line and hook is got ready, and, well baited, is dropped 
in front of him. The monster comes up, and, passing 
once or twice slowly round, he throws himself on his 
back, his white belly gleams, he has swallowed the bait, 
is hooked, and at our mercy ! With a rush he throws 
himself wildly about. We dare not pull him up, as the 
hook has only caught through the gristle of his mouth. 
There is running to get a rope with a noose to slip down 
the line, and over his fins, and thus draw him up. But 
before that can be accomplished the ship heaves up with 


the swell, the line is drawn too tight, his whole weight 
is upon it, the hook cuts through the cartilage, and with 
a wild sweep he is gone ! Meantime the hearings have 
cooled, the screw is at work again, and the ship goes on. 
In three days more we are nearing Bombay, and feel 
thankful to Captain Ormond and the officers and crew 
of the good ship Bokhara, who have brought us to the 
end of a fortunate voyage without a single mishap. 



Bombay is the second city in the British Empire in 
population, 650,000, with an average to the square mile 
exceeding that of London. The average number of 
persons to each house in London is eight, and in 
Bombay twenty-one. Sixty-six per cent, are Hindus, 
21 per cent. Mohammedans, the rest Parsees, Jews, 
native Christians, and Europeans. The average death- 
rate for five years was almost the same as that of 
London. The rateable value of the city has fallen 
within the last nine years nearly one-third. It is 
situated on an island with an area of twenty-two square 
miles, which is joined by a short embankment to the 
mainland, and draws its daily supplies partly from the 
island, but chiefly from the mainland, by market boats 
which crowd the bay, and ply along the neighbouring 
coasts and inland creeks. 


Under the experienced guidance of the Commissioner 
of Police, I traversed the city, visiting the very extensive 
wet dock ahout to be opened, and the handsome city 
markets lately erected. Every sort of thing is there for 
sale — vegetables, fruit, flowers, corn, butter, meat, fish, 
salt, live poultry, parrots, and monkeys. Then passing 
along the streets we came, in the middle of the old city, 
to a sacred tank, about the size of a large square in 
London, full of water, not very clean, to which people run 
in from the streets and bathe, whilst others are washing 
clothes. On one side is a sacred temple, the roof covered 
with pigeons. There was an unsavoury odour from this 
sacred tank, which seems to be replenished by the rain 
as it runs off the houses and streets ; but in this hot 
climate, where the people have little clothing and do not 
mind getting it wet, the water seemed a welcome refuge 
from the heat and dust to hundreds coming and going. 
The streets are most quaint and picturesque, every house 
having its own peculiar architecture and special decorative 
colouring. The shopkeepers are all seated cross-legged 
in their open shops, many taking coffee with their 
customers, and crowds of people are stalking along the 
streets. The syces with our carriage call out to clear the 
way, there being risk of knocking people down at every 
step. They are tall, thin, but stately people, varied and 
picturesque in their attire, contented-looking, and all 
seeming to have some object in view, most of them 
with fine intelligent eyes. 

At a cotton-mill in the suburbs, which I visited, the 
native owner was anxious to deprecate any advantage of 


cheap labour being in his favour compared with our 
cotton-spinners at home. " It takes 1,200 people here 
to do what 500 can with you, and then they are so idle." 
He took us to see their houses — huts placed in flat 
ground under the shade of great trees. They are such 
as one would suppose would breed fever — but the people 
are said to be very healthy — wide, low houses, the roofs 
covered with broad leaves down to within two feet of the 
ground, no window, and a low door through which any 
grown person must almost creep. But the thickly- 
thatched roof and the absence of windows keep out the 
sun, and the people take their food generally out of 
doors. The little naked children looked quite healthy. 
In the mills the people seemed to carry on the work 
much as with us. The hours of work are from six to six, 
with an hour at midday for meals and rest. The 
monthly wages are for a girl or boy 10s., a woman 16s., 
and a man 32s. They have English machinery, with 
cheap labour, and native cotton, but coal 40s. a ton. 
The Indian cotton has 15 per cent, of size in it, the 
English much more, according to my Indian informant. 
Besides supplying the local demand there is an export 
of twist and yarn, valued at £400,000, which goes chiefly 
to China. 

In the evening we walked on Malabar Hill, a pic- 
turesque promontory near the city, where the Governor 
and other high officials and merchants reside. We 
passed an extensive enclosed ground on the summit of 
the ridge, on which there is a tower, inhabited by 
vultures which are protected by the Parsees, who dispose 


of their dead there. Everyday or two there is a funeral. 
The birds watch its approach from their "Tower of 
Silence." The body is carried to an open chamber in the 
tower, and in about fifteen minutes every particle of flesh 
is cleared off the bones by the unclean birds, and the bones 
drop down into a dry well, where they remain for subse- 
quent removal. On our return home in the lovely moon- 
light we passed the Hindu cemetery and saw a funeral 
pyre, on which the body of a deceased Hindu was, after 
their fashion, being burnt. 

Next day we crossed the bay to the famous rock 
caves of Elephanta. There was a fine breeze, but the 
sun was broiling, even though we had a thick wooden 
awning on the steam launch. The bay is extremely 
beautiful and capacious, with islands and capes, wooded 
and precipitous, and a distant coast outline running to 
a height of 4,000 feet. As there have been heavy rains 
lately, the low islands are quite green, and most 
refreshing to the eye after the barren rocks and sandy 
deserts of the Red Sea. 

The caves are about 250 feet above the level of the 
sea, and approached by a long series of steps, tolerably 
shaded by trees. The woods were vocal with the song 
of birds, and lizards ran along the walls with great 
speed. On the little flat pieces of land, formed by the 
careful labour of centuries, plots of rice were being 
harvested. Entering the caves, which, with the pil- 
lars and great figures, are all cut out of the solid 
rock, there is an air of wonderful majesty. The 
great figures, repeated again and again, are the 


Hindu Trinity — the Creator, the Preserver, and the 

In Bombay I had an opportunity of hearing the views 
of experienced official men on many topics of interest. 
In regard to railways the facility of transport has 
increased prices, and especially those of articles of largest 
bulk. As wheat and other grain can be carried at a 
halfpenny a ton a mile, the food of the people in India 
will probably rise greatly in price to the benefit of the 
producers, but to the injury of the dwellers in towns and 
cities. These are now complaining of the rise in price 
as one result of British rule, and are discontented. As 
the price of food grain hitherto has been lower than in 
other countries the non-producer feels the increase of 
price severely. This is an experience precisely the 
opposite of ours, where home-produced corn was dearer 
than in other countries, and the facilities of transport 
have cheapened it in favour of the consumer, and against 
the interest of the producer. 

As a test of the failure of food the records of the 
Bombay Mint, in the years of the last famine, are very 
instructive. The quantity of up-country silver, chiefly 
melted ornaments, transmitted to the Mint in part of 
the years 1876, 1877, and 1878, embracing 23 months, 
amounted to the value of nearly £2,000,000. The first 
occasion on record in which the people sold their orna- 
ments for food, in sufficient quantities to cause the 
bullion to reach the Mint, was during the bad years of 
1871-2. Previous to that no silver that had passed up- 
country ever found its way back to the Bombay Mint. 


If the salt tax, which bears with most crushing 
weight on the poorest, as it is a necessary of life which 
must be consumed by him as freely as by the rich, could 
be dispensed with, great would be the gain to the mass 
of the population. The wealthy Zemindars, merchants, 
rich natives, and highly-paid officials are lightly taxed, 
and enjoy the protection of Government without paying 
adequately for it. The opposition to a policy in this 
direction is believed to have been much over-estimated, 
as it would really be confined to a comparatively small 
body of wealthy persons who would be the last to find 
any advantage in disturbing the security of British rule. 
An income tax on all persons with an income over 250 
rupees would bring in a considerable revenue without 
undue pressure. A saving might at the same time be 
made by employing fewer Europeans, and those only in 
the highest departments, and by substituting natives in 
all posts for which they are capable, and at native rates 
of pay. 

The change from payment of rent, or Government 
assessment, in kind, to payment in cash, is believed by 
many to have led directly to the almost universal 
dependence of cultivators on the money-lender. In the 
former plan, when a bad season came, the assessment 
declined, as it was a proportion of the crop. That pro- 
portion being much lower than is taken by native 
governments, the advantage of living under British rule 
could be clearly seen; and by payment in produce there 
would be no need of the costly system of re-assessment, 
as, if there was a general rise of price, the Government 


would obtain its fair share of that advantage on their 
proportion of the crop. 

Leaving Bombay for the interior on the 8th of 
November, I travelled by the line of the Great Indian 
Peninsular Railway. The stations along the line are 
very neat, and covered with creepers and flowers, and 
with the plants one sees in the tropical department of 
the public gardens at home, with crimson and other 
richly-coloured leaves. Every village and station seems 
full of people. The railway runs up the bank of the Kalu 
for some miles. This is a broad tidal river, with many 
boats plying to and fro. Near its bank are numerous 
small rice-fields, the crop of which is now being reaped 
with the reaping-hook. Thermometer 84°, 10 a.m. 
Among the cultivated fields there is no lack of trees, 
which have an advantage over ours in always being 
green. They are the palm, pepul, bur, tamarind, and 
kyra, the last a low tree on which the camels browse. 
They are dotted over the landscape, and afford a certain 
amount of shade, and generally near villages there is a 
grove of trees. 

Every now and then we pass a group or village of 
huts, very poor mud fabrics, covered with fibrous plants 
and leaves. Patches of good land, where water can be 
applied, are all that is here cultivated. Outside the vil- 
lages, and shaded by the trees, there is generally a wide 
ditch, full of very dirty water, in which one may, during 
the heat of the day, by careful looking discover the village 
kine, the water buffalo, black creatures with no hair, and 
long twisted horns turned backwards, lying in the mud, 


for coolness. Pack bullocks, laden with grain, pass along 
the road, straying into the stubbles to pick up anything 
that may have been left. The background of mountains 
begins to shut us in, and after four or five hours in the 
flat country we commence our ascent of the Western 
Ghats. This is the range of mountains which, arresting 
the rains of the south-west monsoon, feeds the great 
rivers that water the peninsula from Poonah to Cape 

After climbing 1,800 feet, by my barometer, through 
a pretty, wooded, hilly country with steep gradients, 
we reach the summit station, where I entered into 
conversation with a stout English employe on the line, 
who said it was an enormous business to work the trains 
" up these 10,000 feet." " Nonsense," I said, " it is not 
2,000." "Ah!" said he, "a stranger might think so, but 
he knew every foot of it, having been at the making of 
the line." I did not insist, as he evidently gave no heed 
to the little tell-tale aneroid in my hand. He and his 
wife and children enjoyed good health. He gets his 
meat "tolerable," but "don't go in for curry and rice, 
and such like, as he sticks to English living — meat, 
vegetables, and pudding." They have three English 
clergymen and one Roman Catholic, and a good English 
school. The train moves on, I wishing him good fortune, 
and he for me a prosperous journey. 

We soon arrive at Nasick, a very ancient city, through 
which the infant Godavery flows, and which is dammed 
up at three places for the daily baths of the citizens. 
This great river rises some fifty miles farther up, and, 


flowing through a sacred tank, issues thence by a golden 
spout, gathering volume as it goes from the monsoon 
rains, and, after a course of many hundred miles, dis- 
charges a portion of its waters through Sir Arthur 
Cotton's irrigation canals over the rich delta into the 
Bay of Bengal. 

After passing the summit, the land does not fall to 
the level whence we rose on the west, but continues a 
lofty cultivated table-land at an altitude of 1,800 feet. 
The night felt cold, but the day was quite as warm as at 
Bombay, though not so close. The surface is undulating 
and fairly cultivated. Patches of wheat are just coming 
through the ground, and everywhere the people are 
busy sowing it. The plough is drawn by a pair of small 
buffalo bullocks, the ploughman being accompanied by 
a woman, with a basket of wheat, who trickles the seed in 
in front of the plough, in the bottom of the last furrow, 
in an excellent seed-bed, the plough at once closing in 
the ground over it, and effectually preserving it from 
birds. Less than one bushel of seed thus suffices, and 
it comes up thick enough. As many as ten ploughs 
follow each other, the village in this case appearing to 
do its work in common. The famine touched this part 
of the country, but not severely, as there are many people 
and cattle everywhere, and the land seems fully cultivated. 
The sheep and cattle, and tall goats, all graze together 
on the fallows and common pasture. Before dark we 
reach an elevation of 2,000 feet of this cultivated land ; 
and in the morning, when daylight comes, I find that 
during the night we have descended 1,200 feet. 


We are now in the valley of the Taptee River — very 
good land. This river is here ahont as large as the 
Thames at Windsor, and flows westward, past Surat, to 
the sea. The "valley " is really a plain abont 600 feet 
above sea-level, covered with crops — bajri (great millet), 
and jowar (spiked millet), very much alike, with a stalk 
like Indian corn, the seed carried in a bunch at the top, 
the stalk from six to ten feet high, and very good fodder. 
Dhall is a plant growing in rows like small gooseberry- 
bushes with yellow flower and the seed a pea. Tobacco, 
sugar-cane, cotton (very small crop), are all nearly ripe. 
Wheat is being sown and coming up, and ripens in 
March. The people all seem busy early and late, and 
every one is out of doors, all very lightly clad. In the bajri 
crop, now ripening, there is a tripod set up with a stand 
higher than the top of the tall crop, on which a native 
is perched, who employs himself in shouting, and slinging 
stones, to frighten the birds. 

We cross the ridge dividing the plain of the Nerbudda 
from that of the Taptee. Here the land is poor, and 
many hundreds of square miles are in jungle — the 
elevation about 2,000 feet. The small rivers are becoming 
dry, and many of them then serve for six months the very 
useful purpose of roads. The jungle is not unlike the 
barer parts of the New Forest, but there are no young 
plantations on it. For the next sixty miles the country 
is nearly all jungle, well watered by streams, and there- 
fore a favourite resort of the tiger. He never shows 
above the tall grass. The cultivation occasionally passed 
is poor, and so are the villages. At Itarsi, as we descend, 


the land improves, is a deep, strong, yellow-brown loam, 
and is now mostly in wheat. The wheat seems to follow 
some other grain-crop, the stubble having been turned 
in some weeks back, and the seed-furrow and sowing is 
now being done. We were here in the valley of the 
Nerbudda, a large and productive wheat country. Ther- 
mometer 88° at 4 p.m., at 1,000 feet elevation. 

During the second night we had descended from 
Jubbulpore — 300 to 400 feet — and now, in this part of 
the Gangetic plain, are at 350 feet above the sea-level. 
The soil is a whitish, loamy marl, carefully tilled, but with 
very little help of manure. The usual crops are growing ; 
wheat is being sown in small patches. The villages are 
mean and poor, and indicate great poverty. We cross the 
Jumna and enter Allahabad. It is often remarked that 
India has been denuded of trees. I can only say that, 
in the 900 miles I have traversed from Bombay, the 
country is quite as well clothed as most English counties. 
Then there are great breadths of wild wood-land — 
jungle — not good enough to be cultivated, and left in a 
state of nature. These afford cheap grazing for cattle, 
the trees not being close together, as in our woods, but 
with plenty of sun and air between them to admit of the 
growth of high thick grass, in which deer, and some 
tigers also, are found. 

Allahabad lies in the fork formed by the junction of 
the Jumna with the Ganges, 500 miles north-west of 
Calcutta. It has a population of 143,000, and is the 
seat of the Government of the North- West Provinces. 
The fort, a place of strength both by nature and art, is 


on the edge of the Jumna, with one side commanding 
also the Granges to the junction of the rivers. The 
country is a wide alluvial plain as far as the eye can 
reach. The Jumna at this season appears the largest 
river, the Ganges being low, with a great breadth of dry 
sand-banks. The native town is very mean, but full of 
people. Most of the houses have gardens, which yield 
their owners vegetables. The native houses are poor, 
with no sign of architecture or permanence. There are 
many ruins, but none that I saw of much importance. 
The new part of the town, where the English reside, is 
laid out with fine broad roads at right angles, bordered 
by trees giving ample shade. There is a museum, and 
gardens and public park, kept in beautiful order, regularly 
watered to keep it green . There are miles of these fine 
roads, all named after English officers of the civilian 
branch of the service. A handsome memorial church 
to Lord Mayo has just been completed. Near it splendid 
crops of bajri, ten feet high, are growing, on one head 
of which I reckoned 2,000 grains. The houses of the 
English, and the English shops, are all large villas in 
their own grounds, or " compounds." 

One of the judges of the High Court called and 
spent the evening with me. He finds the people not 
more litigious than those of London. The Bunyia or 
native banker he considers a most useful class, who do 
not charge higher rates of interest, on the doubtful 
security they receive, than are common in London where 
bills of similar quality are renewed every three months, 
and charged five per cent, interest, and five per cent. 


commission. He expressed a strong objection, in which 
my subsequent inquiries led me entirely to concur, to the 
system of famine relief camps, and to placing the people 
on public works distant from their homes, preferring to 
relieve them as much as possible in their villages through 
the head men. 

Next morning I left Allahabad for Cawnpore. The 
land is nearly flat all the way — 120 miles — with just 
sufficient undulation to admit of drainage and irrigation. 
The millet is everywhere strong and tall. When cut, the 
stooks stand up ten feet high, and would astonish an 
English farmer. The castor-oil plant is extensively 
cultivated, and is a fine, noble plant, with large baylike 
leaves. It is grown chiefly for machine-oil for the 
railways. The wheat is coming up, and the great effort 
of the farmer is to give it, at this early stage, a cover of 
irrigation - water . 

Much of this part of the country is poor, and shows 
signs of the rhe salt, which in certain localities comes up 
over the surface and renders it barren. The land is in 
some places covered with jungle, and is all more or less 
a whitish clay loam, becoming less cultivated where it is 
most stiff. It seemed to me that more fruit-trees might 
be planted with advantage. The mango and the orange 
thrive when properly managed. I have, for the first time, 
seen pigs here turned out in the fields to grub or graze. 
There is very little grass, barer than the barest Down on 
the driest summer day in England ; but the half-starved, 
hungry cattle all do their best to find a living on it. 
How immensely would the power of keeping good stock 


be increased by irrigation, applied to forage-crops in this 
hot climate ! 

Cawnpore is a considerable place, with a population 
of 123,000, and has become a great changing mart to 
which the general produce of the country is sent, sold in 
the market, and distributed by railway to Calcutta or 

Here I visited the too famous " Well." The scene 
of the tragedy has been converted into a beautiful 
park, with walks and flowers, cypress and weeping 
willows, all kept in perpetual verdure by the most 
careful gardening and liberal supply of water. None 
but Europeans are permitted to enter freely. All 
natives, unless furnished with a pass, are excluded from 
the grounds, and altogether from the inclosure round 
the Well. The inscription is, " Sacred to the memory of 
a great company of Christian people, chiefly women and 
children, who near this spot were cruelly murdered by 
order of the Nana Dundapoot of Bithoor, and cast, the 
dying with the dead, into the well below. " No games 
or amusements are allowed, and carriages must go at a 
foot pace. When I enterecl the inclosure I felt as one 
standing on holy ground. The figure of the angel by 
Marochetti is very fine, the face expressing sorrow 
mingled with indignation. The structure inclosing the 
well was designed by Col. Yule, C.B. This is the scene 
of the cruel murder of the ladies and children in July, 
1857, by the miscreant, Nana. I then visited the 
Memorial Church, which stands close to the intrench - 
ment within which the gallant Sir Henry Wheeler 


defended himself and his small force till betrayed by 
the Nana's promise to let them escape by the river, in 
boats, if they would give up their position, which, for 
lack of ammunition, and in the burning sun of July, 
had become untenable. I walked from it down the 
lane to the Grhaut, on the Ganges, by which the doomed 
party were conducted to the boats in which they were 
treacherously fired at, and murdered, the women and 
children being brought back to the awful fate reserved 
for them. Cawnpore and its cruel massacre must ever 
have a thrilling interest in the memory of the English 

I here met the other members of the Famine Com- 
mission, and in their company continued my observations 
while in India. 

The agriculture of the neighbourhood is good. The 
land is owned by Zemindars, who cultivate part of it them- 
selves, and let part to tenants. They grow carrots and 
potatoes for sale as garden crops, both of which are lightly 
manured and well watered by irrigation. Bajri is the prin- 
cipal food-corn, and pulse is grown with it to ripen as a 
second crop. A patch of the castor-oil plant is found on 
most farms, also wheat and barley, but no forage-crop. 
The land is clean, friable, moved to a depth of eight 
inches, below which the subsoil is permeable by air and 
moisture. I walked over the land of a village within 
five miles of Cawnpore, and found the crops all good, 
and the young wheat and barley coming up. These are 
watered from a main irrigation channel, provided by 
Government, from which the cultivator makes his own 


offset into a small pond, wide enough to contain such a 
head of water as admits of two water-baskets being 
worked by four men, with a lift of about eight feet, 
up which they throw the water into channels, which 
distribute it over the crops at the rate of one acre a day. 
This they arrange and maintain at their own cost. The 
water was being turned upon the growing wheat, patch 
after patch, in a most skilful and careful manner. The 
four men are relieved by four others by turns, so as to 
maintain an uninterrupted flow from morning to night. 
The hired men each receive threepence a day and half a 
pound of parched grain. The produce of wheat is about 
sixteen bushels an acre, little more than half of an 
English crop. On such land, with water, light, and heat 
in abundance, the crop might be doubled by an applica- 
tion of nitrate of soda, but at the respective values here 
of wheat and nitrate there would be little profit. Nitrate 
of soda pays on suitable land with wheat at 6s. a bushel, 
but would leave no profit on wheat at 3s. It was selling 
in the market in November, 1878, at the unusually high 
rate of 4s. a bushel of 60 lbs. 

The cattle are poor, half-starved little animals, fed 
on anything they can pick up in the bare fields, and on 
the cut stalks of the bajri, which is neatly chopped or 
cut, so that not a particle is wasted. Their dung is all 
made into sun-dried cakes for fuel, and this is the 
universal practice in all parts of India. The cattle are 
generally so poorly fed that the loss to the land by this 
practice is not so great as one is apt at first to imagine. 
On entering a village the first industry which strikes the 


eye is the preparation of this fuel, kneaded into cakes of 
a hand-breadth with broken straw, and plastered on the 
outer walls to be baked in the sun. Near the towns this 
forms an article of ready sale, and troops of women are 
met, with piled basketfuls on their heads, coming in from 
the country in the early morning to find a market for it. 

The village itself is occupied by the landowners, the 
cultivators, and the labourers, and by the village bankers 
or traders, and a few artisans. The houses are, with one 
or two exceptions, all built of clay, most with a little 
courtyard of their own, and all occupied by separate 
families. They are placed on a slightly elevated site 
upon the accumulated ruins of older buildings. Entering 
the house of a comfortable ryot, I found the outer part 
inhabited by the elder of the family ; next to him was a 
chamber in which the cattle are housed at night; beyond 
that a small open court, about twenty feet square, sur- 
rounded by little chambers. In the hot weather the 
bedsteads are kept in the open, and inside when cold. 
A man with his son, the son's wife, and three children 
live here. He is a cultivator with a farm of five acres, 
which he and his forefathers have possessed for five 
generations. The house is built of clay and thatched 
with reeds, as poor as possible, but quite clean. Their 
food is grain made into bread, with a little butter (ghi) 
to season it, one pound and a half of bread being the 
daily average for each person. 

In another village of 350 cultivated acres there were 
fifty Zemindars, or landholders, in a population of 402. 
For the cultivation of the land there were thirty ploughs 


and sixty bullocks. Part of the land bears two crops in 
the year, so that the 350 acres yield 470 acres of crop. 
The management of the irrigation water employs a good 
deal of labour. From the Government canals here the 
water costs 6s. an acre when drawn ad libitum without 
lift, and 4s. when it has to be lifted by the cultivator. 
It is generally used in excess, and injuriously to the 
crops, when supplied without lift, and, as it is thus used 
most wasfcefully, it has been suggested either that the 
rate without lift should be considerably raised, or that 
it should never be supplied except by lift. The saving 
of water in the last case might be found to be ample 
compensation for the extra labour imposed. 

Mr. Buck, then the head of the Department of 
Agriculture and Trade in the North-West Provinces, 
now the head of the Government Department of Agri- 
culture, had established an experimental farm here, where 
we saw trials of native and foreign ploughs, sugar-cane 
mills, water-lifts, fanners for cleaning corn, examples of 
deep and shallow ploughing, forage -plants under irriga- 
tion, varieties of fruit-trees for distribution, the application 
of manures — the advantage of which to the neighbour- 
hood cannot be doubted. In a country like India, where 
the native landowners undertake no such experimental 
operations, the Government, which is the great land- 
owner, is obliged to take the initiative. A most instruc- 
tive example of the improvement which may be effected 
by the aid of manure is shown on a tract of waste land 
in the vicinity of Cawnpore, which, on Mr. Buck's 
suggestion, was levelled and trenched and covered 


thickly with city manure at the expense of the munici- 
pality, and now repays them by a rent of £5 an acre, 
yielding to its cultivators three crops in the year — 
Indian corn, potatoes, and tobacco. Sugar-cane is also 
grown to a small extent, to be used green, and brings 
£30 an acre and upwards. It grows thick on the 
ground, and ten to twelve feet high. The cane, when 
ready, is cut into little squares, and eats like a pleasant 
sweetmeat, for which there is a ready demand. In such 
a position, and on land so highly manured, the value of 
water is immensely greater than when applied to poor 
land, unmanured, and far from market. In the one case 
it would be cheap at £2 an acre, in the other dear at 5s., 
but the Government with little discrimination makes 
the same charge in both. 



On the 14th of November we left Cawnpore for 
Agra, travelling 150 miles up the plain, most of it less 
fertile than I had yet seen, and much of it damaged by 
the salt efflorescence. There are many poor villages in 
this quarter, and the famine had been sore in the land. 
The contrast exhibited by the present poverty and the 
past magnificence is more instructive than agreeable; for 
we spent part of the next day in Agra, which has eleven 


square miles within its walls, in admiration of the 
beautiful architecture of the Fort and the Taj. They 
are both the creation of the great Mohammedan family 
which conquered India more than 350 years ago, the 
wisest and the ablest of her rulers — Baber, Akbar, Shah 
Jehan, and Arungzebe, the Great Moghul emperors. 
The Fort, which was also the palace of Akbar, commands 
the river and city of 150,000 inhabitants, and incloses 
within its walls (which are seventy feet high) a great 
space, a mile and a half round, with very numerous 
buildings, both ancient and modern. Entering by the 
Delhi Gate, and passing up through splendid approaches, 
we come to the Public Audience Hall of Akbar, which 
is very grand. Seated above in an alcove, he looked 
down on the armed princes, officers, and retainers who 
came to pay their homage. Within are courts and 
courts, each more charming and beautiful than the last. 
The apartments of the wives are of white marble, the 
walls and ceilings exquisitely pencilled with inlaid 
precious stones, representing the shape and colour of 
flowers — the lovely overhanging windows and little open 
terraces overlooking the Jumna and the more distant 
Taj. The bath-rooms are beautiful — all of marble, the 
ceilings and walls sparkling with little mirrors let into 
the marble. The beauty and extent of this inlaying 
cannot be adequately described. The Hall of silent 
audience opens on a terrace where there is a black flat 
stone, which was the throne of the Great Moghul. Below 
it is the Jasmine Tower of the chief sultana, recently 
restored. Near this the famous gates of Somnauth, 


carried off from Ghiznee by Lord Ellenborougli, are 
stowed, old and ugly, and believed to be counterfeit. 

The gem of the Fort is the Moti Musjid, or Pearl 
Mosque, exquisite in purity of taste and beauty of design. 
There is no colour, no figure, no image — the command 
that no graven image shall be set up for worship being 
literally obeyed by the followers of Mahomet. No 
Christian church I have ever seen can compare in purity 
of design with this temple. It is all of white marble, 
from the pavement of the large court to the top of 
the three domes. The beauty of the slight pillars 
carrying the smaller domes is as wonderful as it is 
lovely. On the summit at a great height^ exposed 
to the tempests which strike across the plains of 
India, these domes have stood for 230 years untouched 
by storm or time. No lightning conductors are here 
to preserve them from the bolt which might in a 
moment sweep them away, and they now look as white, 
clear cut, and fresh as if they had just emerged from the 
hand of the builder. The mosque occupies a length of 
124 ft. by 56 ft., the front court being about 100 ft. 
more from mosque to gateway. It is on the crown of 
the fortification, and was built by Shah Jehan, son of 
Akbar, in 1654. 

We next drove down the river to the Taj, the tomb 
of the favourite queen of Shah Jehan. It is probably 
the most magnificent tomb in the world. We enter a 
gateway and drive some distance between long rows of 
low, Moorish, arched buildings to the grand gateway 
with a row of little domes on the top, which of itself 


would have been a monument of great magnificence. It 
only serves to usher you into a straight marble pathway 
through an exquisite garden terminated by the Taj, 
whose pure white marble dome, with its ivorylike tracery, 
is seen rising far above the verdure of the trees which 
line the approach to it. On leaving the path you rise by 
a marble stair and arrive on a marble platform, on which 
the whole magnificent structure appears to rest. Entering 
the building, you come to a circular marble screen, with 
exquisite tracery and inlaid flowers in variously coloured 
precious stones, inside of which are two marble sarcophagi, 
beneath which, in the vault below, the emperor and his 
wife are buried. That of the fair Moomtaz is distin- 
guished by the words, in Arabic, " The name of the lady 
buried here is Moomtaz Mahal." Nothing more. You 
descend into a vault below, where similar sarcophagi are 
repeated, and in these the remains are inclosed. The 
whole building has been cleaned, and the minarets 
regilt. The feeling it inspires of beauty and majesty far 
exceeds that of the white marble cathedral of Milan ; it 
is at once more simple and its form and tracery more 
elegant. It is said to have cost three millions. 

One cannot help feeling that a race of kings like 
Akbar and Shah Jehan, who could illustrate their reign 
by such wonderful monuments, ought to have known 
how to rule this vast empire with advantage to its 
people. These buildings are the representatives of their 
civilisation and taste, and must have been the outcome 
of a feeling of security and peace. Long years must have 
been spent in their completion. What has become of 


the culture which is here displayed? We leave the Taj 
and drive hack to the city, passing a few villages of 
agriculturists, lodged in their mean mud huts. How 
did these great men deal with their people? Akhar is 
said to have left a code of rules for managing the land 
and dealing with the cultivators which was clear and 
just. He and all his race have disappeared. Let us 
hope that the works of our modern civilisation, roads, 
railways, telegraphs, irrigation - canals, and navigable 
waterways, with security of person and property, will 
gradually enable the people to rise into a more prosperous 
condition, and be hereafter a better monument than they 
have yet proved of the beneficence of our rule. 

In the afternoon, on our way to a famine -stricken 
village, we passed the tomb of Akbar at Secundra, about 
five miles north of Agra. In the grand gateway here, 
570 wretched prisoners, whom the over-full gaol could 
not contain, were lodged, and were being taken out in 
batches for exercise. A more miserable procession it has 
never been my lot to witness — some, manacled on both 
ankles, carrying their chain ; some with a manacle on one ; 
all half-starved and very poor. Alas for us, that such 
should be the unhappy state of any fellow-subject ! 
Some were seated in rows, and as the " sahibs" passed, 
at a signal from the keeper, gave a clap with their hands 
and a very hollow, cheerless cheer. The gaols at present 
are overflowing with prisoners for thefts, in consequence 
of the famine and high price of food. The tomb itself i 
is much plainer than the Taj, and is chiefly built of red I 


On reaching the village where we had arranged a 
meeting, the people came ont to see ns and to lay their 
tales of misery before us. Their crops had failed, and 
they had no credit, and the native bankers no money to 
lend. The death-rate had increased tenfold, and more 
were expected to die. The land was a rather light sandy 
loam, for which the occupiers paid 6s. an acre, one half 
to the Government, the other to the Zemindar — a not 
excessive rate if the fall of rain, or the supply of water, 
were sufficient. It had failed them last year, and twelve 
families had deserted their land and had not returned. 
The growing crops had little promise, the cotton not 
30 lbs. an acre. And so silent are these people in their 
distress that the settlement officer, who had been two 
months encamped on the land, had not observed any 
particular poverty, nor had become aware either that the 
people were in a state of famine, or dying of it. And to 
my astonishment the Government representatives here 
learnt all this for the first time, as the result of our 

At another place I visited the courts of law. In one 
the assistant magistrate was dispensing justice. Twelve 
persons had been tied up in a row the day before, and 
whipped with thirty stripes for theft. The magistrate 
said to me, with some satisfaction, that he had at last got 
a policeman who could break the skin at the third stroke! 
This, I am glad to say, is the only instance I met with in 
India of such a feeling. Whilst I was in court a man 
was being tried for attempting suicide by jumping into 
a well. For this he got a month's imprisonment. 


Suicide is very common. Another magistrate lately had 
a case of a man who walked into the Ganges and lay 
down to drown himself, but was pulled out. On being 
asked why he did this, he said he could get neither work 
nor food, and he thought his position not likely to be 
worse in any other condition after death. Upon being 
asked to promise not to repeat the attempt if let off, he 
said he would try for three or fonr days to obtain work, 
but if he failed he should have no other alternative. 
He got twelve months to compose his mind. 

Under the present system in this part of India a 
re-settlement, or new tenancy, takes place every thirty 
years. The last change of this kind in the North- West 
Provinces occupied several years, and cost two millions 
sterling. On being concluded the experience of the 
officers was dissipated by being turned into other duties 
not requiring this special knowledge. If re-settlement 
is to be continued it would be better to take it up, in a 
thirtieth part every year, by a special body of men who 
would become experts. And the increase of revenue 
would then be regular and annual, instead of by a huge 
jump at the end of the thirty years. 

The prison at Agra, under the very intelligent 
management of Dr. Tyler, contained 2,375 prisoners, 
whose average weight when admitted compares unfavour- 
ably with that of 1875, there being a loss of 6^ lbs. per 
man, which he attributes to the recent great scarcity of 
food. There are very few female prisoners, and their 
comparative paucity in India is remarkable. The 
average prison population in Bombay is one to 1,815 of 


the general population, but that of the female prisoners 
is only one to 23,500 of the proportion of female popu- 
lation. This may be safely taken as an illustration, of 
the proportion of female crime throughout India, and 
seems to indicate both the state of subjection of women, 
and the absence among them of crimes of violence in a 
country where intoxicating drink is rarely taken. The 
order and cleanliness in this prison, and in others which 
I visited in India, are most creditable to the manage- 
ment. Carpet-weaving seems to be readily acquired, and 
the prisoners generally are kept usefully busy. This 
prison is managed under Dr. Tyler by a sergeant-major 
of the artillery, who drills the most deserving prisoners 
as a night watch. Solitary confinement does not seem 
to be reckoned severe by the Indian people, who are 
quite content to be left quiet so long as they are 
reffularlv fed. 

We returned next day from driving twenty-two 
miles into the country to see the general cultivation 
and state of the people, and rested for the night 
at Futtapur Sekri, a city of the great Akbar. It was 
built 300 years ago, and deserted in the next century 
on account of its unhealthiness. It is walled, stands on 
a ridge of rocks, and is now occupied by a country popu- 
lation of 6,000. The palace is in good preservation ; the 
buildings of red freestone beautifully carved. 

As we entered a village early next morning the women 
were all going to the well to draw water for their daily 
use. The well is situated under the umbrageous shade 
of a stately pepul-tree. A raised platform, some six feet 


higher than the ground, circular, and ten or twelve feet 
in diameter, was the place from which the buckets were 
let down, and evidently the gathering-place for the 
morning gossip. Some were young and rather pretty, 
some middle-aged, all with silver anklets and bracelets, 
and ear and nose rings. Each had a large earthen jar 
and a smaller one, and a brass vessel. They let down the 
large earthen jar into the water, and filled from it the 
other two, then refilled it, and placing the three on the 
edge of the platform descended the steps to the ground. 
In doing so they necessarily turned towards us. Each 
placed the large jar on her head, then with both hands 
lifted the brass vessel on the top of that, then took the 
small earthen jar in the left hand, and, so laden, stepped 
with stately mien on their homeward way, Like the 
servant of Abraham, I was tempted to offer my aid in 
drawing the water or lifting the jars, but not knowing 
the language, did not venture to do so. But the whole 
primitive story was recalled, and the people in these 
villages, and in their daily avocations, are but little 
changed from the time of the Patriarchs. 

The tahsildar is the head native officer of the tahsil, 
which may include 100 villages and 80,000 to 100,000 
people. He is the native assistant of the collector, and 
a magistrate. The desire now is to introduce natives 
of good birth to such offices ; and the tahsildar's 
assistant wdio accompanied us is a man of twenty- 
five, dark, and not very smart-looking, but a lineal 
descendant of the great Akbar, and of the royal family 
of Delhi. 


We examined a village eighteen miles from Agra, in 
extent 500 acres, of which 350 are cultivated. Popu- 
lation, 253. The lombardar, or headman, of the village 
has been sold up by a native banker, who eight years 
ago began to give him advances, and gradually, by increase 
of interest, having obtained a judgment for the debt, 
bought up his property — about the half of the village. 
We had the man before us, a member of the same family 
as the Eanee of Oudipore, of the oldest and highest 
rank in India. He is now a beggar, dependent on his 
neighbours for bread, without a particle of clothing 
beyond his loin cloth, and so poor and thin that he was 
pitiable to behold. As the other half of the village is 
pretty free from debt, there has probably been less thrift 
and industry in this family than the rest. But none of 
the people of the village looked prosperous. 

On the following day we visited an indigo planter 
near Gazhibad, twenty miles from Delhi. This gentle- 
man was an engineer engaged in the construction of 
the railway, and, when the Mutiny broke out, rendered 
valuable aid to Government by keeping the line open. 
When all was over he was rewarded by some of the 
forfeited land of the rebels being sold to him on favour- 
able terms. He has 12,000 acres, but keeps in his own 
occupation only 100 acres. The remainder he lets to 
yearly tenants on condition that they pay him an 
adequate rent, and grow such crops as he prescribes. 
The crops were heavy, and the village people 
looked more cheerful than most I have yet seen. 
This landowner is now the only Zemindar or land- 


lord on the 12,000 acres he bought. He lets his 
land on a written lease from year to year, reserving 
from his tenants all legal "rights of occupancy." 
His people pay much higher rents than the old rates, 
and are themselves more prosperous. The leading 
condition of his bargain is that he is to have a right to 
control the cropping. Every third year the tenants are 
to grow indigo where the soil is suitable, the crop of 
which he buys from them at a paying price. They grow 
also sugar-cane, and winter crops of wheat or barley. 
They have a full supply of irrigation-water from the 
Ganges canal, which is here a fast- no wing river, larger 
than the Thames above tide. They pay from 14s. to 
18s. an acre for the land and water. He has tried 
English ploughs, but the people prefer their own, with 
which they plough the land repeatedly and make an 
excellent seed-bed. The indigo crop grown every third 
year runs its tap-root deep into the subjacent soil, and 
thus acts better than trench-ploughing. The indigo straw 
from the vats, when rotted into pulp, is laid on the land 
in large quantity, but, notwithstanding this addition to 
the ordinary resources of the soil, he believes the produce 
(under the exhausting influence of canal irrigation, which 
stimulates for a time but without enriching the soil) has 
sunk ten per cent, in twenty years. The deposit at the 
bottom of the canal is cleared out once a year. I saw it, 
and it seemed pure sand, and thus brings no reviving 
help like the mud of the Nile. 

It seems incredible that, for twenty years after 
the Ganges canal was made, the natural drainage 


continued in most cases to be blocked by tbe canal 
embankment, which bad been carried across the natural 
outfalls of the country, with no provision of siphons 
or outlets. The consequence was an accession of 
fever and the spread of rhe, both attributed to the 
canal irrigation, when in truth they were the natural 
consequence of water-logging the soil by blocking 
up its outlet. Meerut, it is said, was so desolated 
by fever, from this cause, that it bad to be partially 
given up as a military station till this want of outlet 
was discovered. If it had not been for some inde- 
pendent planters, who were not afraid to speak out, tbe 
cultivators would have continued to suffer, seeing desola- 
tion, but accepting it as the destiny of fate through the 
ignorance of the Government. But where were the 
collectors and their deputies and assistants, whose duties 
lay specially amongst the cultivators ? The amount of 
judicial work now cast upon them compels them to 
neglect the interests of the ryots and cultivators, and bas 
indeed been one cause of that growth of litigation which 
now taxes the energies of so many various courts. If you 
ask the European officers the condition of the people in 
any village or district, they can seldom tell without 
making a special inquiry. The minor judicial work can 
be, and is, done by native officers, probably better than 
by English, because of their familiar knowledge of the 
language, habits and traditions, and general motives of 
their own people, and at one-fourth of the cost. If the 
whole detail of minor judicial work were left to them, 
with the adequate European courts of appeal now 


provided, and if the attention of the European officers 
were more confined to the condition of the cultivators 
and people, they would be in a position to prevent such 
errors, and to keep in check the rapacity of native 
bankers, and to foresee coming scarcity in time to warn 
the Government to provide against it. 

We have been riding about the country here on 
elephants in the hot sun. It is not a pleasant mode of 
progression, but the docility of the great animal is 

Proceeding northwards through Meerut and Umballa, 
we pass large breadths of very fine sugar-cane under 
canal irrigation, the country clothed with fine trees and 
presenting general signs of prosperity. The Government 
assessment here is 5s. to 6s. an acre, with 10s. added for 
water-rate to the sugar-cane, which can well bear the 
charge. The Ganges and Jumna canals, valuable though 
they assuredly are, do not protect more than one-sixteenth 
of the area of the Doab, that being the proportion in 
which the canal water reaches the cultivated area. Outside 
of this, wherever there is a water-bearing stratum from 
which water can be drawn at thirty to forty feet, there 
can be no safer investment for the capital of the cultivator, 
or the Government, than the construction of permanent 
wells, at a cost of £10 or £15, and capable of serving 
six acres, which on a system of three-course crops would 
admit of one-third of a holding of twenty acres being 
brought under irrigation every year. It is the opinion 
of many persons of skill that the water from such wells, 
notwithstanding the cost of working them, would yield 


quite as great a profit to the cultivator as that from the 
canals. Whatever may be the cause, men of experience 
here see little improvement in the condition of the 
cultivators. The great expenditure in railways and 
canals has left them much as it found them. The towns 
are improving, sanitary arrangements having rendered 
them more healthy, but this is entirely the work of the 
English. There would seem to be no public advantage 
in pressing great Government works, which are not 
required for public purposes, too much in advance of the 
wants or capabilities of this people. 



We now enter the Punjab, the latest great territorial 
acquisition of the British Government in India, the 
school in which some of the chief of her more recent 
statesmen and warriors were trained, and notably the 
two Lawrences, Sir Eobert Montgomery, Sir Donald 
M'Leod, Nicholson, and Edwards. The cultivated area of 
this province is twenty million acres, and the land revenue 
about an equal number of rupees, so that each acre on an 
average pays to the Government something less than 2s. 
But, in addition to the cultivated land, there is an equal 
quantity of culturable but uncultivated land, which bears 
part of this charge, so that if we place this at 6d. an 


acre the cultivated land will cost not quite Is. 6d. 
There is, further, an area of twenty million acres of un- 
culturable waste, which, so far as it bears any assess- 
ment, will still more reduce the charge on the cultivated 
land. Six per cent, of the cultivated land is irrigated by 
canals, besides that which is served by wells. The 
Punjab alone, with a population of 17,600,000, has an 
area in corn half as large again as that of the United 

The general system of land-tenure in this province 
is that of village holdings, the headmen collecting 
the Government assessment, and paying it in one 
sum to the native collector. Each man has his specific 
land, recorded in the books of the village accountant, 
but the people are represented through their head- 
man in their business with the Government. The 
machinery by wdrich the Government acts may be 
shortly described. The native officer in immediate 
contact with the people is the village accountant, 
one in each large village or for several small ones. 
Twice in the year he takes an account of the crop in each 
field, and the changes, if any, of ownership and occu- 
pancy. He measures the ground at resettlement, subject 
to the revision of the European officer. There are fifty 
or sixty of these accountants in each tahsil or sub- 
division of a district, and they are the men in Upper 
India on whom Government rely for all information 
connected with the land. Their salaries are about £12 
a year. Next over the accountant is a native superin- 
tendent, who supervises the work of the accountants for 


the whole tahsil, with a deputy to assist him. These are 
respectively paid £30 and £18 a year. Over them is the 
tahsildar, or native collector, to whom the revenue is paid 
by each village. Besides revenue duties he has also 
magisterial duties, and to the cultivators he is the 
tangible representative of the Government. His annual 
salary is from £200 to £300. The European collector, 
with his European assistants, controls the whole district, 
which includes eight, ten, or fifteen parts, or tahsils, 
yielding a revenue of from £50,000 to £120,000, and 
embracing a population of from 500,000 to 1,000,000. 
Within this district the collector is the supreme 
authority. He and his deputies and assistants are 
paid at a rate nearly tenfold that of the native officials. 

The city of Lahore, the former capital of the Sikh 
rule, rises from the river Eavi, slightly above the general 
level of the plain, and is compact and more substantial 
than most Indian towns. It is surrounded by a wall, 
with the fort at one corner, and has a population of 
90,000. The environs of the city, which were a waste 
when we took possession of it, have been turned into 
public gardens, very nicely kept, and with excellent roads 
for a mile or two in every direction. The country 
within some considerable range on each side of the river 
is richly wooded, and, looking down upon it from the 
fort, appears a really fine, rich country, well clothed with 
handsome timber, well cultivated, and capable of main- 
taining a prosperous people. 

Market-garden farms begin outside the city walls, 
and are skilfully managed. I examined one, four acres 


in extent, served by a well twenty-two feet deep, which 
supplies water to every crop. The cultivators sow at the 
same time crops which mature respectively in three, five, 
and eight months, the shorter-lived crops coming to 
maturity before the longer ones have reached the size 
at which they would interfere with the others. They 
manure heavily with town manure, and have large 
returns, chiefly from vegetables and green fodder, sold in 
the city by the greengrocers. The Government revenue 
and cesses are about 20s. an acre. In a circle beyond 
this, several miles from the city, the farms are larger, a 
well having sometimes from ten to twenty acres attached 
to it. Such lands pay to the Government in revenue 
and cesses about 8s. an acre. The land is placed under 
irrigation in succession — about four acres each year, 
which is fairly manured, and, besides yielding a lucrative 
crop, leaves the land in a favourable state for dry crops 
till its turn for irrigation and manure comes round 
again. The unirrigated land pays 3s. an acre. Where 
the well is sufficient for the irrigation of most of the 
land held by the cultivator, the course he adopts on a 
ten-acre farm is to have two acres immediately round the 
well cultivated with tobacco and vegetables, and heavily 
manured. These are the crops that take most water 
and pay best for manure. Four acres outside these get 
less water and less manure, and yield two crops in the 
year — wheat followed by maize. The remaining four 
acres get whatever water and manure can be spared, and 
yield steadily an annual crop of wheat. The fields 
subject to the last two courses are put into each in turn. 


When such lands are underlet by the Government 
tenant, the rent paid to him for the irrigated land is 
one-third (the cost of cultivation being greater), and 
for the unirrigated one -half of the produce. 

Out in the country, forty miles from Lahore, we 
walked through the land of a village of 450 acres, of 
which nearly the half was capable of irrigation by wells. 
Each well has two or three acres of high cultivation 
close to it, which usually begins with sugar-cane, for 
which the land is well prepared and manured. The 
rest of the irrigated land and the unirrigated is 
cultivated in the common course of Northern India — 
wheat followed by millets, and then ten months' 
fallow and ploughing, thus yielding only two crops 
in two years. The Government revenue and cesses on 
this land are about 2s. an acre. One particular 
holding of forty-two acres of irrigated land which we 
examined is held jointly by four brothers. They 
cultivate this themselves with the aid of six farm 
servants and their own sons, dividing the produce 
of each harvest in four equal shares. For this the 
Government assessment and local cesses amount to 3s. 
an acre. The farm servants are paid thus : they get 
two good meals a day; a coarse clothing, and 2s. a month 
in cash. The labourers' diet consists of unleavened 
cakes of whatever corn is in season, a little boiled peas 
and greens, with buttermilk, and sometimes a little 
butter cooked with the greens. The morning meal, 
between eight and nine, is usually of corn cakes with a 
pot of buttermilk, and the evening meal of the same kind 


of cakes, hot, with boiled pulse or greens. They eat on 
an average 21bs. of flour and 4oz. of pulse per day. A 
ploughman, working hard on his own land from morning 
to night, will eat 31bs. of flour. The cakes are usually 
of wheat and barley mixed, or maize or millet. The 
grain is ground by the women of the house in hand-mills 
of stone, of which we saw several in the house. The 
farm cattle were five pairs of bullocks for working the 
wells and ploughing, and six cows for milk. There 
were good supplies of grain and cotton, stored in earthen 
bins. The elder man owed his banker £20 at 18 per 
cent., for land bought a year ago. He expects soon to 
clear this off with the present high prices, and is, on 
the whole, a fair example of a Punjab agriculturist, a 
little better off than the average. 

The Government assessment is fixed for terms which 
in some cases run for twenty, some for thirty years, the 
shorter terms being used on the lands most likely to be 
affected by the opening of markets consequent on railway 
extension. The Sikhs are a superior race, intelligent 
and outspoken. It seemed to me that they would 
readily follow a good example if some energetic 
European agriculturists were planted among them, 
farming this fine soil simply for profit, and using the 
means that capital and wider knowledge could com- 
mand. But the low wages, and great number of people 
seeking land, would probably lead to a more profitable 
mode of investment. It is so easy to acquire the 
zemindar's right of property for a few years' pur- 
chase of the Government assessment, and the land 


can then be so readily sublet at a profit, that there 
is no advantage to be gained by entering into specu- 
lative farming. An Englishman embarking his capital 
in the purchase of land as a zemindar, and letting it 
on the native plan of a share of the produce, which he 
would then have an interest in bringing up to the 
highest point by liberal outlay as a landlord, might thus 
get a good return for his money, whilst largely benefiting 
the people. He could impose terms in order to pre- 
vent too great sub-division and its consequent certain 
poverty, and could betake himself to the hills in the hot 
weather. There is no reason why these fertile plains, 
under such management, should not display the same 
smiling picture of comfort and well-directed industry 
which gladdens the eye of the traveller through the plain 
of Lombardy, where the owner and the cultivator parti- 
cipate in the cost of improvement, and together share in 
the produce. 

From Lahore we went towards Peshawur as far as 
Gujranwala to see the country, still the same great plain 
which for more than 1,400 miles stretches from Peshawur 
to the sea at Calcutta. In a village we met a zemindar 
who had fought against us at Sobraon thirty years ago, 
and is now a contented subject. He took us into his 
village and into the houses of his people. Their houses 
are very small. They use neither chairs nor tables, so 
that they require but little space, and in warm weather 
they sleep outside in their enclosed yard. Every one 
seems to have a store of grain. A small hand-mill is 
used by the women to grind their daily food, and thus 


the flour is always fresh, and ground with the bran in it. 
They knead it with their hands into a flat circular cake. 
This is laid on a pan and baked on the fire. This was 
a Sikh village, and though the people here, as farther 
south, are all very lightly clad, these seemed more cheer- 
ful and happy. 

In walking through the fields where wheat -sowing 
was going on, the ground having been previously watered 
from a well, our party alarmed the two pairs of oxen 
which were drawing the two little ploughs, and they 
broke away in terror of the pale faces of the " sahibs." 
They were soon caught and brought back, and the master 
and his men with smiling good-nature asked us politely 
to be good enough to stand back, as they could not 
otherwise go on with their work. In another field 
where wheat-sowing was proceeding I was struck with 
the ingenuity of the sower. He performed the whole 
operation himself. He guided his bullocks and the 
plough, and into a short bamboo, which was fixed to the 
handle of the plough and passed down to the ground 
behind its sole, he trickled the seed from his left hand. 
It fell very regularly into the opening made by the 
plough, and was at once covered by the earth crumbling 
in over it as the plough passed on. The most perfect 
English drill could have done the work no better. He 
was an intelligent man, for when, forgetting that my 
language was not his, I asked him to show me the quality 
of the seed, he, understanding the action, at once placed 
a handful of it in mine. 

There are three modes of irrigation in the Punjab — 


that of wells, already described, canal irrigation, and 
inundation irrigation. About one -fifth of the land 
through which the canals pass is supplied with water. 
The people may alter this fifth from year to year, so 
as in live years to bring the whole of their land under 
irrigation in turn ; for the Government intention is that, 
to the extent of one-fifth, each holder shall be protected 
from drought, and this protection is being gradually 
extended over the country as funds will admit, but 
limited, of course, to the area over which a flow of canal 
water can be commanded. The inundation irrigation 
does not extend beyond the river basin. It makes the 
summer crop safe in most years, and, if the full river 
continues late, helps also the winter crop. 

There are vast untouched tracts of jungle in this 
presidency capable of supporting any probable increase 
of population for many generations. These are great 
plains of alluvial land, in some parts of which there are 
remains of villages long since deserted, most likely from 
changes in the course of rivers having left the people 
without water. They are traversed by the five great 
rivers which unite with the Indus below Mooltan, and 
are capable of being reclaimed and rendered habitable by 
canal irrigation supplied from these risers. The area so 
available may be counted by millions of acres, and it 
may soon become a question of policy whether the 
transplanting of the people to this, and other regions, 
from the too densely crowded countries farther south, 
may not be one effectual means of averting future 


The relations of the bunyia, or money-lender, with 
the cultivator, a question of the gravest character in 
India, have here been the subject of careful investiga- 
tion. Some of the legal authorities, in order to limit 
his power, advised that land should not be transferable 
for debt, that a mortgage upon it should not out] as t the 
life of the mortgagee without official sanction, and that 
so much of the annual produce of the land as represents 
the cost of cultivation should be exempt from attach- 
ment. It was found, however, on careful inquiry in 
this province, that the actual transfers had not been in 
excess of a natural and healthy process, and that the 
total number of suits for debt against the agricultural 
class was one in 125 annually, which is below the 
average of England. By a return for 1874-5, carefully 
collated by the Financial Commissioner, Mr. Egerton, 
now Sir Robert Egerton, lately the able Governor of the 
Punjab, it appears that only one landowner out of 540 
had parted with his land, that the proportion sold for 
debt was less than two acres per square mile of the 
cultivated area, most of which was bought by agricul- 
turists, not professional money-lenders. The average 
price was twenty -seven years' purchase of the Govern- 
ment assessment, and the greatest number of sales took 
place in the most prosperous districts. Only one acre 
in fifty was found to be mortgaged, and five-sixths of 
the land so mortgaged remained in possession of the 
borrower. Acting on these facts, a public meeting 
representing the landowners and their creditors, and 
the public generally, recommended that no further 


restraint should be placed on sale or transfer of land 
than would prevent fraud or undue advantage, and that 
any legal prohibition against usurious rates of interest 
would affect both borrower and lender injuriously, and 
diminish the market value of land ; the fear being that 
the measures contemplated would tend to keep land in 
the hands of a succession of paupers. 

In the museum at Lahore may be seen specimens 
of all the products of the province. Gold is found in 
small quantities in the sands of the Indus. Lead and 
iron exist, but no coal, only lignite. For clothing, 
cotton and silk are produced, and for food every variety 
of corn. Oil, sugar, and tobacco, are also largely culti- 
vated. Where the land is unmanured the weight of 
corn produced per acre is about the same as that of 
unmanured land in England. 

On Sunday I attended church in a tomb, said to be 
that of a favourite dancing girl of a former sovereign. 
This was then the only Protestant church in Lahore. 
The Governor's residence is a mosque of earlier times, 
very solid, with handsome square rooms, one of which 
is now a grand dining room, opening from a suit of 

Umritsur, with its golden temple and fine country, 
was our first halt on leaving Lahore. Here again were 
complaints of the waterlogging of the land, consequent 
on the embankments from the Baree Doab Canal. A 
case was mentioned to me where a cultivator came to 
the Commissioner with a chafing-dish, filled with fire, 
on his head, to demand justice for injury to his land 


done by the Sircar. After much time was lost the 
matter had been inquired into, and the damage done to 
these poor people by having their drainage blocked by 
the canal embankments is now being rectified. But 
the appointment by routine of a weak, or indolent, or 
incapable man at the head of a district, is quickly 
followed by laxity on the part of his under native 
officers. And the evil this may cause to a population 
of several millions is frightful. Great indeed is the 
responsibility of the men who make such appoint- 

The Rev. Mr. Clark, who has been a missionary in 
the Punjab since 1851, called on me here, and gave me 
very interesting information on missionary enterprise in 
this part of India. A high-class Christian school has 
been established for native converts who are being 
prepared to become missionaries among their own 
people, the management having been undertaken by 
young Englishmen of fortune who are devoting them- 
selves to this work, Mr. Baring at Batala, Mr. Bate- 
man, and Mr. Gordon taking the lead. The Zenana 
Mission is considered as likely to prove the most suc- 
cessful branch of the Christian Mission, the converted 
native women having great influence with their own 

The European officers have much influence, and 
would gladly use it in protecting the people, but they 
are too generally moved about so much from one station 
to another, or so closely confined to office work, that 
they have not time to become thoroughly acquainted 


with their stations. Their representatives, the tah- 
sildars, or native collectors, if they cannot get the 
revenue otherwise, will in extreme cases sell up every 
head of stock and every bushel of corn, and even the 
very beams of the man's house, and put him into con- 
finement for two or three days. Such powers, they say, 
are in many cases indispensable to obtain payment. 

On the 25th of November we left Umritsur and 
proceeded to Kappurtulla, a native State in the hands 
of a little Rajah of six, who is under the superintendence 
of a British resident. The child Eajah lives in a house 
apart, going to his mother, the Eanee, every night. 
The resident lives at the Rajah's palace, a very hand- 
some house, with busts in the hall of the Queen and 
Prince Consort, and Lord Canning, and pictures in the 
drawing-room of the Prince and Princess of Wales by 
Sant, and of Sir Robert Montgomery. A force of 500 
infantry, with cavalry and artillery, was being sent by 
this State to Afghanistan, and we were invited to 
inspect them, a train of elephants with gilt howdahs, 
and cloths of scarlet and gold, being placed at our 
service. The Resident here, who has been a settlement 
officer and is familiar with our system, finds the rate of 
Government assessment on the land half as much again 
as in British territory, while sales of property under 
mortgage are very few. The Government keep the 
bunyias more in order than we do. The higher revenue 
officers, having smaller districts, know the headmen of 
all their villages better. It is only in this respect that 


the Eesident would change anything in our manage- 
ment for theirs ; but this better knowledge of the head- 
men, if possessed by our European officers, would give 
them a clearer insight into the actual condition of the 

Crossing the plain some miles beyond the town, I 
found much of it rendered barren by the rhe, or salt 
efflorescence, generally ascribed to canal irrigation ; but, 
as there are no canals in this State, it cannot arise from 
that cause here. The mud houses in the first village 
we came to had been to a large extent melted by the 
late heavy floods of this season, many inches of rain 
having fallen in twenty -four hours. The people were 
busy rebuilding their dwellings, which are neither better 
nor worse than those in British territory. The people 
looked exactly the same — their average holdings, six to 
seven acres. The only crop which received no injury 
from the flood was the sugar-cane, which, so long as it 
can keep its head above water, remains uninjured by it. 
Near the city the land is richly cultivated, and lets as 
high as £4 an acre for garden-ground. The principal 
minister, a native, who accompanied us in our ride, was 
minutely acquainted with the condition of the people 
and their modes of cultivation. 

In the evening we left for British territory at 
Jallundar, and thence proceeded to Eoorkee, where 
we were very kindly received by Major Brandreth, 
who is in charge of the college for engineers here, 
which, with the Government workshops, we visited 


in the afternoon. I here got my first view of the 
Himalayas, with a grand snow-clad peak, 22,000 feet 
high, topping the rest of the vast wall that shuts in 
the great Indian plain. There is between us and the 
high range a lower range of hills, but they scarcely seem 
to intercept the view of the mighty ridge beyond. The 
great plain seems a dead level, shut in by the mountains, 
from which it has in long course of ages gradually 
crumbled down. As the sun set the nearer hills had a 
rosy hue, and the distant snowy mountain-peaks shone 
out sharp against the sky. 

We had a most interesting trip to Hurdwar, which 
is the first point where the Ganges leaves the hills and 
enters the plain. The river is here embanked along its 
various streams and all collected to one point, where, 
according to its fulness, the necessary volume is passed 
into the canal, and the rest is left to run onwards in its 
natural course. At this time (November), and for the next 
Hve dry months, nine-tenths of its waters are taken into 
the canal. When the rains set in, and the snow begins 
to melt on the high mountains, one-tenth will be suffi- 
cient. The canal is a stupendous work, worthy of a 
great nation desiring to protect its passive subjects from 
famine. The principle upon which it is constructed is 
to lift part of the water of the Ganges from its natural 
bed, and run it by an artificial channel along the watershed 
of the country, whence it can be allowed to flow through 
the adjacent country by irrigation channels, to secure the 
crops from drought. The canal is a great deep river, 
flowing at the rate of one to two miles an hour, and in 


the course of its first twenty miles from Hurdwar it is 
passed below two wide beds of torrents, through one, 
and over a fourth, all with extraordinary engineering 
skill. It was designed by Sir Proby Cautley, an artillery 
officer with a great genius for engineering, and is a 
monument of his talent. It carries the water for 260 
miles through the rich Doab, or flat country between 
the Ganges and Jumna. The snow-melted water is at a 
temperature of 60° in summer when the air and the 
surface of the ground are 110°, and this coldness of the 
water is at that season sometimes injurious to the crops. 
A great canal, such as this, carried along the watershed 
of a country, must, by percolation, raise the water 
stratum over all the land commanded by it, and thus 
greatly increase the irrigation-power of wells. 

Near Hurdwar, which is the holy place to which all 
Hindus endeavour to make a pilgrimage at least once in 
a lifetime by themselves or their representatives, we met 
many of them returning, carrying away a bottle of the 
water of the holy river. We rode on elephants through 
the town. When we reached the top of the high, broad 
flight of stone steps, down which the pilgrims go to 
bathe, the huge animals stood still for a little, while we 
looked down upon the scene. To my astonishment 
they then in single file slowly descended the steps, and 
walked into the river among the bathers, and the sacred 
fish which swim in swarms at this point. No one seemed 
surprised. We crossed a little arm of the stream, and 
ascended some steep and broken ground, which the 
sagacious creatures managed without difficulty. As we 


looked down from the height to which we had then 
reached, a dead man was seen floating past on the broad 
stream. About a mile farther up we left the elephants 
and returned by boat, and were rowed swiftly down the 
river, passing the temples on the river-front, from 
which they looked much finer than from the road behind 
them. But the reality is not to be compared with the 
pictures of these buildings ; for really these temples are 
mean-looking and all out of repair. The grandeur is in 
the great river and the gap in the mountains through 
which it passes out, and in looking towards the profound 
distance, towards the great Himalayan chain whence it 

The engineering college at Roorkee has three classes 
— the first for the higher branch of engineering, the 
second for secondary work, and the third for mechanical 
operations. The numbers now admitted are restricted, 
as there is not employment for the young men who could 
be turned out both here and at the Engineering 
College at Cooper's Hill. The workshops, under Mr. 
Campbell, turn out all kinds of articles for Govern- 
ment use — military and engineering tools, agricultural 
implements, hand-pumps, sugar-mills, machinery of 
various kinds. He finds native labour, at any work 
except farm-work, as dear as European. The people 
have no liking for piece-work, at which they might 
earn higher pay. They say that hard work makes 
them ill; and what advantage is it to earn more than 
suffices for the day? When they quarrel, which they 
often do, they don't fight, but they damage each other's 


work and make charges against each other, the truth 
being difficult to elicit. I was informed by the magis- 
trate of the cantonment, a military officer who has been 
many years in the country, that nine-tenths of the cases 
are mere squabbles that might be much better settled at 
home than by dragging people for miles, and detaining 
them for days at a court of justice. The people are like 
children, constantly squabbling, and they go to law, get 
up false evidence, and do all sorts of tricks for mutual 
annoyance, which the existence of our courts facilitate 
and the pleaders encourage. A punchayet, or native 
court, he thinks, composed of a headman from each 
adjoining five villages, meeting once a week at each 
village in succession, could settle all petty cases and put 
a stop to the chief part of the present litigation. 

At Delhi we were the guests of the Commissioner, 
who lives in a handsome house outside the walls, 
called Ludlow Castle. In the grounds of this house was 
planted, at the Mutiny in 1857, one of the batteries that 
crumbled the walls near the Cashmere Gate; and behind 
it is the ridge on which lay the small English force — at 
its greatest 7,000 men — which, during the terrific heat 
from June till September, had to take a walled city held 
by 60,000 rebel native soldiers. We passed in through 
the Cashmere Grate, which, with the broken wall, is left 
as the siege left it, and saw the spot where the brave 
young engineer officers, Home and Salkeld, fastened the 
powder bags to the gates and applied the fire, when one 
was killed and the other fell mortally wounded into the 
ditch. Nobly seconded by their sergeants, two of whom 


were killed, the gate was blown in, and the assaulting 
column rushed up under General Nicholson and captured 
that position. We followed the gallant Nicholson's 
course along the wall inside to the spot where he fell 
mortally wounded, General Pelham Burn being beside 
him at the time. We went through the fort, the 
palace, and the city, and finally to the tomb of Humayoon, 
five miles out, where the King of Delhi took refuge, and 
whence he and his sons were dragged out from the midst 
of thousands of their followers by the brave Hodgson 
and his men. 

Then we drove seven miles farther to the Kootub — 
the highest tower in the world, built 600 years ago, 
of red freestone, and in the most perfect preservation, 
and wonderfully symmetrical and beautiful. We went up 
to the gallery on the first storey, and got a splendid view 
of the country, which, all the distance from Delhi — 
eleven miles — is a succession of ruined cities, palaces, 
and tombs. It must at one time have been in a far 
more flourishing condition than at present, and doubtless 
this splendid, elegant, and massive tower will see many 
generations yet — some, let us hope, recalling the grandeur 
of its earlier time. There is an archway close to the 
tower, said to be the most beautiful in India, of red 
sandstone, beautifully hewn and carved, inlaid with 
marble, with four arches and a splendid dome. 

On the 1st of December I rose early and walked out 
with Colonel Davis to the " Ridge," a long space of 
elevated, rocky, broken ground, behind which, in 1857, 
our troops lay whilst waiting for reinforcements. It was 


here in a night attack that Colonel Bobert Yule was 
killed. His is among the names inscribed on a tablet in 
the memorial tower, erected here in memory of the brave 
men who fell in the siege. 

The weather was beautiful, like a lovely summer 
morning at home. The country all round is covered 
with park-like trees, and has a rich and luxuriant appear- 
ance. The Indian cork-tree is in flower, with delicate 
pendent petals and pretty white flowers. There is also 
the acacia, with its yellow flower and sweet perfume. 
From this point we drove through the centre of the city 
into the Queen's Park, which is very pretty, extensive, and 
well shaded, with open ground fo-r cricket. The military 
band plays once a week, and the native public resort to 
it in great numbers. The park is open to all, and is 
entered from the principal business street, just as you 
might go out of the Strand. At one end of the park is 
a museum, with specimens of produce, and natural history, 
and antiquities, and with a large library. There is also 
a chamber for the municipality of the city, whose 
representatives, under the presidency of the Deputy Com- 
missioner, transact the public business. The population 
of Delhi is 160,000. 

In the evening I walked over the land of one of the 
cultivators, who was busy in his market-garden in the 
environs of the city. The ground had been waste, 
covered with large stones. The municipality set to 
work and had the stones taken out, and the ground 
trenched and well filled with street sweepings and 
manure. It is now let at 40s. an acre. The tenant readily 


answered every question. He has a well sixty feet deep, 
from which he waters his land. It is worked by four 
oxen, which do the other work of the farm besides. 
The ground grows all sorts of vegetables and flowers 
for sale in the city — two crops in the year, corn and 
vegetables in succession. The effect of the manure is 
expected to last for ten years. This man cultivates 
fourteen acres. He employs five men, who are paid 
10s. each a month, with vegetables besides. They 
work all days of the week, except one holiday every 
new moon. He has a fine crop of cauliflowers now on 
the ground, which he sells at 2d. a head. His well 
supplies water for twelve acres, some of the crops getting 
eight waterings. The man was very intelligent, and 
appeared an industrious, careful fellow — a Rajpoot — 
but bare-legged and bare-footed, like others. No 
Englishman or Scotchman of the same rank could be 
more clear and business-like in his explanation. 

It is the opinion of the Commissioner that a better 
division of labour might be made between the British 
and native officials. The native judges are quite capable 
of transacting the most of the legal business of the 
country, subject to the appeal courts, and to such aid as 
the British officers could give, in the cold weather, and 
also in the hot weather, when it is not possible to work 
out of doors. The European officers would then have 
time to become really acquainted with the people in 
their villages and farms, the district officers being the 
ever-present representatives of a careful, paternal Govern- 
ment. The people, as a rule, live so close upon the 


edge of want that constant watchfulness is necessary. 
If the collector of a district had, with the consent of 
the Commissioner of the division, power to suspend to 
some extent the Government demand in bad years, 
making up for it in good seasons, the poor cultivator 
would be rescued in large measure from his dependence 
on the money-lender, and tided over to the next crop. 
For it is rare that both crops of the same year are lost 
by drought. When the monsoon rains fail in summer 
there is generally a good winter crop. 

The dried cow -dung brought into Delhi, and 
sold for fuel, fetches, for a buffalo -load of 4 cwt., 2s., 
equal to 10s. a ton. 



From Delhi we proceeded to Ulwar, a native State, with 
a population of 780,000, where a young man of twenty 
rules under the guidance of an English political agent. 
We saw his Highness's palace, his stud of 300 horses, com- 
prising Arab blood of pure strain, and his elephants and 
camels, and finally his wild beasts — all very princely. 
The country is no longer the great plain of India. The 
capital is 1,000 feet above the sea, and the fort which 
defends the city is behind, and 1,000 feet above it. 
The position is very picturesque. The city is walled, 
and full of active, busy people, more so than in British 
India generally, and with more sign of life — having 


the advantage of a reigning prince resident, who spends 
his income at home. Behind the palace is a spacious 
public park, and, beyond that, the fine temples and 
tomb of a former Maharajah. 

There are three classes of people in this State, as 
distinguished by their food, in the proportion of four, 
sixteen, and eighty per 100. The first consume, with- 
out stint, milk porridge, ghi, sugar, and good flour. 
The second have buttermilk porridge, a little ghi, no 
sugar, and only coarse grain. The third have only 
water porridge and coarse grain. About one-half of 
the whole area is under cultivation, and nearly one- 
half of that is irrigated. Coolies earn 3d. a day, 
carpenters 6d., and masons 7^d. 

The villages and farming are inferior to those in our 
territory, though the rate of Government assessment is 
higher; and the country being of a sandy nature, the 
drought has told with terrible severity, many villages 
having lost half their people, and working cattle, 
from famine. A certain amount of help was given 
to the famishing, but not with the same feeling of 
responsibility or to the same generous extent as in our 
possessions. Twenty per cent, of the whole population 
have died or emigrated, 'and fever is very general 
and fatal, owing to the bodily weakness consequent 
on scarcity. The money-lenders have ceased making 
advances to the cultivator, the security being gone 
for a time. 

Next day we reached the native State and city of 
Jeypore, the country still flat, but with picturesque hills 


dotted over its surface. We drove through the public 
gardens, which are very handsome, and then through the 
city, which is surrounded by a strong wall. The city is 
laid out in parallel lines, two great streets, each two 
miles long, perfectly level and straight, being crossed at 
right angles by narrow streets. The population of the 
city is 170,000, that of the State two millions. The 
great streets are very wide, with fine pavements at each 
side for foot-passengers. The houses are built with 
some degree of regular irregularity, all of pinkish 
colour, with every variety of elevation, and the prettiest 
little balconied windows dotted along their fronts. 

One block of the city, being one -eighth of its extent, 
is occupied by the palace of the Maharajah — a vast 
structure or series of courts and buildings, the innermost 
of all being the residence of the prince and his family — 
a fairly large one, seeing that, besides nine wives and 
their attendants, he had two thousand women in his 
establishment. We first ascended by a long rising- 
pathway, winding up till we reached the roof, where 
there is a little marble canopy and pillars, under which 
there is shelter from the sun, and whence you command 
a panorama of the whole scene. It was like a scene 
in a play, or from the " Arabian Nights." Gardens 
stretched away, filled with servitors of the palace — 
men and women, walking about among beds of flowers 
and grass — fountains playing, and at some distance a 
fine pond ; beyond it a larger one like a lake, on which 
a small pleasure steamer is kept ; beyond that woods 
and palm trees, and a water palace some two miles out, 


with a still larger lake stretching to the ridge of pre- 
cipitous hills, 1 3 000 feet high, that shut in all approach 
on that side of the city, except at one point, where a 
huge gateway closes or opens the only pass. Turning 
round, the eye follows this line which shuts out the outer 
world, and shelters inside of it gardens and houses, and at 
the opposite end is guarded by forts on conical hills that 
meet the ridge behind the city. On the top of it is 
the fort of Jeypore, 2,000 feet above the sea, 800 
feet above the city. The sun was making the finest 
effect of light and shade on the purple-coloured hills, 
refreshed by the sparkling verdure of the trees on the 

And what is to be said of the absolute ruler here, 
with power of life and death over all his subjects ? We 
were met at the door of the Reception Hall by a little 
man in spectacles, with a large diamond in his hair 
on the top of his head, and a pretty posy of flowers 
in his side hair, to whom we were presented. After 
shaking hands he led us in, seating himself on a sofa 
with myself and the other gentlemen seated right and 
left of him, and a large number of his court standing 
round. I complimented him on the beauty of his 
palace and city, and the grand elements he had contri- 
buted for the health and comfort of his people, in air, 
light, and water, by the wide streets, the gas lamps, and 
the water supply. To this he replied by a polite bow. 
We then rose, he again leading us to the door, and 
courteously taking leave. He seemed sad and depressed, 
and has since died. 


Before breakfast we drove eight miles out to examine 
the country and the public works of the State, which are 
under the management of Captain Jacob, who has been 
eleven years here, and has constructed all the roads and 
irrigation works made during that time. He lays a report 
and estimate before the Maharajah, who, upon approval, 
places the amount at his disposal, so that no after 
interruption in the execution of the work occurs. The 
complaint in our territory is that works are begun, then 
delayed for want of funds, and when completed are 
proportionately costly. The plans and superintendence 
here cost Q\ per cent, on the expenditure; in India, I 
was told, the cost greatly exceeds that amount. The 
cultivated land is a light sandy loam, into which any rain 
that falls sinks, and does not run off. The rent paid to 
Government for such of it as is capable of irrigation by 
wells is 12s. an acre, and 6s. more for water when 
supplied from irrigating channels. Sometimes the 
Government rent is paid in kind — a proportion of the 
produce. We met a row of some eighty bullocks 
carrying the Government rent of a village, in bags of 
corn over their backs, into Jeypore. Though the assess- 
ment is much higher than in British India for similar 
land, the people seem in no worse condition. They are 
never allowed to be sold up by the bunyia, neither their 
land nor working cattle. Within a few miles of Jeypore 
the land becomes very sandy, and a large tract of this is 
kept in a wild state for hunting antelopes and pigs, where 
sometimes a tiger also is found. 

Next morning we passed through an encampment 


of natives, and were forcibly reminded of the Scrip- 
ture, " two women grinding at the mill." There they 
were sitting on each side of the circular stone, and 
with, great quickness grinding the flour for the day's 

We were on our way to Ambair, the ancient but now 
deserted capital of Jeypore, and seven miles distant from 
it. After leaving the plain we mounted elephants, which 
took us over the Pass and down into the gorge where 
the old city stands. The people have abandoned it, 
and it is rapidly going to ruin. There is a lake at the 
bottom of the gorge, with an island and gardens upon 
it. Two alligators were sunning themselves on a bank, 
one Avithin stone-shot, which darted swiftly into the 
water on being soundly bumped on the tail by a stone. 
The city is surrounded by walls, and the great palace 
is still habitable, and stands above the lake on the lower 
ridge of hills, behind which on a higher point is a very 
extensive fort which commands the city and all its 
approaches. The elephants took us up the steep stone 
ascent, and into the main gate and court of the palace, 
where we alighted and spent an hour in traversing its 
storey upon storey of apartments. Our kind host, 
Col. Benyon, had provided a luncheon basket, which 
was opened under a fine canopy of Jade-like marble 
pillars. Thence we passed into a series of beautiful 
apartments, decorated in the purest taste, the w^alls grey 
in colour, with an intermixture of what shone like 
mother-of-pearl, and with little mirrors inserted regularly 
throughout. The cornices and ceilings were quite 


exquisite. The rooms were perfect in shape and pro- 
portion, 30 feet by 17, with little outer chambers on the 
external walls, whence, through beautiful marble trellice- 
work, you look down from the great height on the lake 
and gardens, and the surrounding hills. From the roof 
itself, which is of easy access, there is a still more 
extensive view. The zenana, now empty, is divided 
into cells, in which no life could appear to be more 
solitary or uninteresting. From these we descended to 
a temple, where still, every day, a goat is sacrificed to 
appease the Divine wrath; and on certain great occasions, 
when the Maharajah is himself present, seven buffaloes 
are beheaded with the same object — "Not without blood." 
After leaving the temple we remounted our elephants, 
recrossed the Pass, and returned home in the moonlight. 
We now took rail for A j mere — ninety miles — which 
we reached in seven hours. This is one of the State 
lines, made by the Government on a cheaper scale than 
the great guaranteed lines — about £G,000 a mile, narrow 
gauge, and very comfortable ; everything finished in the 
best style, with good stations. At Ajmere, which is the 
central station, great engineering shops are being con- 
structed for the repairs, with a little railway town 
springing up around it. When the line is completed 
to Ahmedabad, there will be a direct run from Delhi 
to Bombay, shortening the present journey by nearly 
400 miles. But between Ahmedabad and Delhi there is 
a break of gauge, which must greatly impede the heavy 
through goods traffic, and is a most erroneous economy 
on a great through line. 


At Ajmere we were hospitably received by the 
commissioner, who lives in a pretty house placed on the 
edge of an extensive lake, bounded on the opposite side 
by high and rugged hills. Ajmere itself is 1,800 feet 
above the sea-level, and these hills 800 more ; so 
that we are on the backbone of Central India, the 
water now flowing west. This place is quite lovely. 
Above the city is a still higher hill, rising 1,200 feet. 
It is like the better class of Indian cities, and possesses 
a very sacred Hindu temple, at the door of which we 
were met by all the principal priests, and each presented 
with wreaths of flowers. Behind this temple is a deep 
abyss with a spring of water at the bottom, whence the 
people draw their supplies. A little on one side are 
the ruins of what is said to have been the finest Hindu 
temple in India, covered in front by a facade of Moslem 
architecture of wonderful majesty. A Mahometan con- 
queror ordered the Hindu temple to be thus converted 
to the true faith, and took this means of doing it. Both 
are now only splendid ruins. 

In our drive we passed the Mayo College — a new 
building, erected by the Eajpootana chiefs for the 
education of their youths of princely birth — at present 
under the management of Captain Loch, on the principle 
of an English public school. Each chief has built 
a residence, or "house," for his party, and, as they are 
all different, and all near the main school, there is much 
variety and beauty in the whole. I saw the boys out 
playing lawn tennis. They play cricket also, and are 
thus being brought up with manly English habits, 


though not to despise their own people, but if possible 
to carry to their homes a portion of that English love 
of truth and fair play which may serve them as chiefs 
hereafter. The drive all the way was on excellent 
roads, lined with fine trees, with plenty of shade. In 
the evening there was a party at the Commissioner's 
house, where, among others, I met Mr. Brandeis, the 
Inspector of Forests, and Mr. Halsey, the Salt Com- 
missioner, from both of whom I derived much valuable 
information. On returning to my room the moon was 
shining on the rippling waters of the lake which my 
windows overlooked, and I recalled to memory the story 
of the Veiled Lady of Ajmere, which I had read in an 
annual forty years ago. 

Next morning I saw Mr. Grey, the missionary here 
of the United Presbyterian Church of Scotland. The 
missionaries of this Church, like the American missions, 
associate with them a medical missionary. By their 
schools, more than by preaching, they find influence 
among the people, who are kind and patient. During 
the late famine the mission rendered active help by 
giving employment and wages in making wells, and 
thus employing the famishing people profitably without 
breaking up their homes in relief camps. 

The Sambre Salt Lake in this neighbourhood is the 
source of salt for Northern and Central India. The 
quantity to be had here and in the river Loony is 
unlimited. This river falls into the Gulf of Cutch, and 
for many miles near its outlet the salt is very pure and 
fine. Millions of tons of it are yearly washed away by 


the sea in the Kun of Cutch. Mr. Halsey has lately 
visited this almost unknown country, where he found 
an isolated but strong race of people inhabiting a fine 
stretch of land, cut off by sandy deserts from the rest 
of mankind. By recent fiscal changes, and arrange- 
ments with native independent chiefs, the monstrous 
hedge, or Customs line, has been abolished, and by 
approved appliances the cost of getting the salt has 
been largely reduced. This saving will be an important 
service to the State if it enables the tax to be reduced, 
and adds another million to the revenue without 
imposing any additional charge on the consumer. 

Leaving Ajmere at night, we returned through 
Jeypore to Bhurtpore, which is a tract of light, sandy 
country, and a salt-producing State. Thence to Jhodpore, 
with a population of two millions, and a revenue of 
one million sterling. If British India were capable of 
being managed at the same rate, she would have a 
revenue of upwards of a hundred millions sterling. 
The hills soon disappeared, and we again enter the 
great plain of the Ganges. The most obvious feature 
of difference in the appearance between the native States 
and British territory is the greater prevalence of trees 
in the latter. Mr. Brandeis, the Inspector-General of 
Forests, tells me that his department is preserving 
existing forests and preventing their waste, but they 
have found it too expensive to replant the ground. Nor 
is it necessary, for Nature, if she is left to herself, soon 
covers the ground with new trees in those forest tracts 
where they had been wasted. With this object these 


are enclosed, in stony ground among the hills by stone 
dykes exactly like ours at home, and, in places where 
there is not this resource, by the prickly thorn — 
Euphorbia — which quickly springs up and makes an 
impenetrable hedge. A most singular provision of 
nature seems thus to exist for the preservation of trees, 
and thereby securing moisture and shade. This prickly 
thorn spreads rapidly over all uncultivated ground, and 
the birds %ing about drop seeds of trees among its 
branches. Some of these reach the ground, and, in the 
rains, take root, and out of the midst of those wide-spread- 
ing prickly thorns, which no animal can penetrate, springs 
a young and lusty tree, which has thus been guarded 
from all danger in its early period of growth. 

The poverty of the cultivator makes him very 
dependent on the native money-lender. The first pressure 
that drives him to seek this aid is the prompt payment 
demanded of the Government assessment. It is fixed 
for a term of years, and must be paid whether the 
season is good or bad. If the season is bad, and the 
crop partially fails, he has no help but in the money- 
lender, the bunyia. Many devices have been thought 
of to relieve him, one of which seems to have much to 
recommend it. Let the Government assessment be so 
much money in the aggregate for ten years, with a 
power in the hand of the collector to suspend collection 
in bad seasons and double it in good. The present 
assessment may be very low, but in a bad year when 
there is no surplus, a man with no capital has nothing 
with which to pay it. When a productive year comes, 


the assessment is so moderate that the surplus will 
readily answer the double demand, and the poor culti- 
vator will then be able to meet his engagements to the 
Government without having incurred the ruinous rates 
of interest which would have otherwise been charged by 
the money-lender. This would in reality be a modified 
plan of Government banking, but applicable only to the 
payment of the rent or Government assessment, and 
involving no further risk or detail of management on 
the part of the Government. 

The system of Government advances called Tuccavi, 
for the purpose of enabling the landholder to make wells 
or other permanent improvements, is so overloaded by 
precautions in the shape of forms and stamps, and 
application to the courts, and the employment of paid 
agents, and delays, all which cost the borrower a very 
large proportion of the whole advance, that comparatively 
little use is made of it. 

The collection of the revenue itself is becoming 
more difficult from the constant growth of judicial work. 
The Tahsildars, or native collectors, who are also magis- 
trates, find the judicial work more dignified and attractive, 
and a shorter road to promotion. They now move about 
their circles with less frequency, and are becoming less 
acquainted with the character and condition of the 
people. And the same is the case with the English 
officers who supervise them, but who, from the great 
increase of appeals, are detained in their courts, and are 
obliged to subordinate the far more important duty of 
acquiring a personal knowledge of the people themselves, 


to this discharge of judicial functions. This has become 
aggravated by the elaborate procedure introduced in 
recent years, by which cases which might have been 
disposed of satisfactorily to both parties in two or three 
hours, now occupy more than an equal number of days. 
Thus the business of Government is becoming enormously 
hampered and increased by the introduction of legal 
principles and practice suited to entirely different cir- 

In the native States I have observed little difference 
in the condition of the people as compared with those 
under our own rule. On the whole they seem to have 
more solid and permanently constructed villages. But 
in both there is the appearance of a uniformity of 
poverty. But we must not judge this people as we 
should do at home. They have few wants, a few 
shillings will clothe them, and a penny halfpenny a 
day, with ordinary prices, will feed them. Their only 
ambition is to dower their daughters handsomely 
according to their station, and with this object, and in 
entertainments at the wedding, they generally spend 
four or five years' income. This they borrow from the 
village banker, to whom, as a rule, they are all in sub- 
jection. Their industry at seed time and harvest is 
untiring. But when they have done their best then, 
and in watering the growing crop, they are content to 
be quiet, and will sit perfectly happy, doing nothing, 
all the rest of the time. The Hindu religion is a belief 
in a great and dreaded unknown Power, whose wrath 
they desire to appease. Power of any kind they seem to 


deify, and, if the British had accepted their worship, it 
would have been readily given to an authority they feel, 
but do not comprehend. In approaching you they clasp 
their hands together, and with humility advance as if 
in worship. They are naturally a quiet, docile, simple 
people, who have never for long ages known anything 
but bondage, and they look upon us as conquerors who 
desire to be just, but don't know how to do them justice. 



We now re-enter the North-West Provinces and Oudh, 
which contain a population larger than that of France. 
Compared with the cultivated area, this province is the 
most populous in India, 420 to the square mile. To 
maintain such a population, with no other important 
industry but the cultivation of the land, is of itself a 
proof that the soil must be fertile. 

Before leaving Lucknow to examine the country, I 
traversed the city, and the scenes of British valour which 
have given it an imperishable Dame. The Residency so 
long defended against the rebels, the room in which Sir 
Henry Lawrence received his death- wound, Dr. Fayrer's 
house in which the hero died, the Baillie guard so nobly 
held by a small body of faithful Sepoys, are all now kept 
neat and trim as a garden, though the ruins still show 


the mark of the shot and shell unsparingly rained upon 
them. I saw also the house where Havelock died, and 
his tomb at the Alumbagh, and the enclosure within 
which a large body of the rebel soldiers took shelter, 
whence none escaped alive. Now all is peaceful. There 
are great open spaces where houses have been demolished, 
to leave free range for guns. But there seems danger near 
this large and unquiet population in having no fortress 
in which to make a stand against sudden attack. The 
roads and gardens and public parks surrounding the 
city are most extensive and beautiful, but the 400,000 
inhabitants care little to participate in their enjoy- 

The Talookdars of Oudh were originally either here- 
ditary landowners or the King's collectors, and each of 
them had many villages under his charge. When we 
annexed the country, the Government dealt directly with 
the cultivators through the head men of the villages. 
This aroused the vigorous animosity of the Talookdars, 
and at the mutiny many of them joined, probably en- 
couraged, the outbreak. The heads of the villages or 
petty zemindars, whom we had intended to secure by our 
policy, left us at once and joined their former chiefs. 
When the mutiny was quelled, the ancient system was 
reverted to, the Talookdars were replaced over their 
villages, and the small zemindars were reduced to the 
position of under-proprietors. There are thus three 
stages of tenure : the Government, as superior ; the 
Talookdars, as equal sharers with the Government in the 
land revenue; and the under-proprietor. The Talookdars 


receive a thirty years' settlement (by which the Govern- 
ment assessment is fixed for that period) on the principle 
of one-half the surplus rent being paid by them to the 
Government. The other half they share equally with 
the under- proprietors. It is held by the courts that, 
under the grant made after the mutiny, the claim, 
termed an " occupancy right," to hold the land after 
undisturbed possession for twelve years, cannot now be 
forced upon the Talookdars. The cultivators are thus 
either " under-proprietors " or tenants at will. 

The Talookdars, whose position for political reasons 
it has been thought necessary to sustain, had many of 
them since the mutiny, through extravagance and mis- 
management, fallen into such pecuniary straits, that an 
Encumbered Estates Act was passed for their relief. 
But they were not treated like our Irish or Highland 
proprietors, whose estates were sold away from them, 
and the price divided among their creditors. The 
Government took these gentlemen under its charge, 
advanced large sums of money to compound with their 
creditors for cash, undertook the management of their 
property, giving them a moderate income to live upon, 
until by careful nursing the estates should be cleared 
of debt and restored to them free. Any success that 
has attended this is to be attributed to the extremely 
favourable terms on which these lands are held from the 
State, coupled with the substitution of honest and strict 
management in the place of native extravagance. This 
aristocracy has not as yet altogether answered its pur- 
pose of standing between the Government and the 


cultivators, and capable of helping their people in times 
of drought and famine. Many of them, notwithstanding 
the great advantages granted to them, have been obliged 
to come to the Government to save themselves from ruin. 
To this there are exceptions, and one of the most notable 
is the Maharajah of Balrampur. 

His estate comprises 2,500 villages, for which he 
pays the Government a fixed annual rental of £80,000, 
for a term of thirty years, when the rent will be subject 
to revision. He has the sole control of his tenants, who 
are all tenants at will, but are never displaced if they 
fulfil the written conditions under which they hold. 
The collection of the rent is let to farmers, in lots of 
about five villages to each. They cannot displace any 
tenant, nor change the customary rents. These are taken 
in kind, one half of the produce, and as cash is not 
required, the cultivator has no occasion to borrow from 
the bunyia. The Maharajah employs fifteen Tahsildars, 
or agents, who manage the several districts, and who, 
being magistrates, dispose of all disputes, so that there 
is no other litigation among the people, and no appeal to 
other courts of law. He has early notices of approaching 
drought or scarcity from his officers, who are constantly 
among and are acquainted with the people ; and either 
retains grain in his stores, or if that is not likely to 
suffice, buys at once as much as he deems necessary, and 
keeps it ready for distribution. To the cultivators he 
advances what they want, to be repaid when they can 
afford it; and to the others what they need, getting 
some useful work in return. He has a form of agree- 


ment with his tenants, of which he gave me a copy. 
It is clear and precise in its clauses, and provides reason- 
able compensation in case, for any reason, the tenancy is 
brought to a close. 

The Provincial Governors complain of the deadening 
influence caused by the interference of the Governor- 
General's Council, each member of which has a special 
duty confided to him, and thinks it necessary to question 
all suggestions from the subordinate Governments. In 
Lord Dalhousie's time business was much better accom- 
plished when details were left to their superior local know- 
ledge and experience. The Civil Code, too, has introduced 
pleaders in the small-debt courts, who harry the poor. 
The bulk of all litigation could be disposed of by native 
judges, and, if the European officers had time to know the 
people better in their villages, much of it would never 
arise. In regard to famine relief work, the opinion of 
men of much experience here was that such works could 
only be profitable when carried out by the strong and 
able-bodied ; and all others should be succoured at 
their homes. 

On the 11th of December I joined the Commissioner's 
camp under the trees near a small town, in the country 
of the Talookdars of Oudh, having left Lucknow in the 
early morning, and after a drive of some miles, and a 
subsequent walk through the country, arrived here at 
eleven o'clock for breakfast. After passing through the 
rich land which surrounds the city, and which resembles 
a finely- wooded English park, we come to an open flat 
country, with no trees, which is covered with water in 


the rains, but is now carrying the spring crop. Passing 
this, we find again the usual cultivation. For the first 
six miles we met troops of people bearing their burdens 
to market, most of the men with bundles slung over their 
shoulders on their long heavy bamboo staves ; the women 
and boys carrying on their heads baskets loaded with 
dried cakes of cowdung, which they sell in the city for 
fuel ; some with vegetable or dairy produce. All are 
very lightly clad, but earnest in the work they have in 
hand. Many heavily laden two-ox carts press on towards 
the same market. At the eighth mile we are met 
by a carriage accompanied by horsemen. This is the 
Talookdar of the district, who alights, and we alight to 
meet him. He presents a gold mohur, which is touched, 
and we shake hands. This is an acknowledgment of his 
being subject to the Queen-Empress ; and he considers 
it his duty to render her officers aid whilst in his country. 
We part with him on leaving the road, and, walking 
through the fields, we come to a dry gheel, covered with 
short creeping grass, and find several women busy 
" grass-cutting." They have a short sharp knife in their 
hand which they sweep in front of them, half cutting and 
half scraping the short grass clean off the surface. The 
roots are left undisturbed, and soon grow again if there 
is dew or moisture. There is heavy dew on the grass 
as we walk through it. A woman or lad can soon make 
up a bundle of this grass weighing about forty pounds. 
Thirty pounds is the daily allowance for one horse, with 
eight pounds of small beans or other corn. The fore- 
noon's work yields about threepence. The owner of the 


grass gets nothing, and it is the custom that any one may 
go grass-cutting wherever he sees a suitable locality. 

Walking on through the fields we come to a well 
which the cultivator is working with two bullocks, and 
the aid of two nice-looking young men, his cousins. 
He is troubled when addressed by strangers, but soon 
takes courage from the kindly tone of Major Erskine, 
and tells us his story. He has twenty-five acres of his 
own, as an under-proprietor of the Talookdar, and holds 
five acres besides as a yearly tenant. He pays the 
Talookdar five shillings an acre for the former (of which 
the Talookdar pays half to Government), and twenty 
shillings an acre for the latter. The land is all of the 
same quality, and the difference of cost marks the relative 
rate of holding as an under-proprietor, and holding as a 
yearly tenant. His crops are good and well- cultivated. 
With " well irrigation " he gets 1,800 lbs. of corn to an 
acre in good seasons. The well is a small one, with no 
permanent brick lining. While we look on, the edge 
upon which the water-skin is emptied has softened, and 
suddenly shows signs of giving way. The wood 
framing is quickly removed, and the ground slips 
into the well, but not much of it. The three men 
are handy, and quickly replace the broken face by 
planking, and again rig up the well with its lift, and 
start the bullocks and recommence the work of irriga- 
tion. The whole is done in a sensible, business-like 
way. The men are hereditary proprietors. 

In the afternoon we walked through many farms in 
the neighbourhood, and I was glad to find such excellent 


crops of all kinds, and generally so rich a country. 
The small farmers seem very industrious, and the land 
is well managed. In feeding their bullocks and cows 
they show great good sense. We found each man 
preparing the evening meal for his stock, on their 
return from the scanty pastures. They draw the green 
mustard plant from among the growing wheat, chop 
it up and mix it with chopped haulm of the bajri 
or coarse corn, and so make a palatable and cheap 
provender. The cow manure is here, as everywhere, 
dried into cakes for fuel. When asked why they did 
not reserve it for the land, they answered, "What would 
you ? We cook our food with it, we warm our bodies 
with it, and then we use the ashes for manure." They 
are very quick ; a Brahmin boy of fourteen followed us 
about — he pointed to a fox stealing away among the 
corn. "Why don't you run after it?" " I could 
not catch it." " Why not ? " " Because it has four legs 
and I only two," smilingly said the boy. 

On these fine rich lands the growing crops were all 
good. Sunnai, hemp, eight feet high, is grown for its 
fibre, chiefly for the manufacture of ropes, and for 
seed. It yields about 1,000 lbs. of dry fibre to the acre. 
The jo war and castor- oil plant were so tall and strong 
that I could not touch the top of either with my whip 
from horseback. I measured an average stalk of jo war, 
which was fourteen feet high, and all cuts into good 
fodder. Potatoes are largely grown, and are a fine crop. 
The rent of this land paid to his landlord by the culti- 
vator, if a tenant at will, runs from 20s. to 30s. an acre. 


Here I must record an incident which is character- 
istic of the people. In walking through the fields I 
observed that we were constantly followed, at some 
distance, by a suspicious -looking native. It seemed 
impossible to shake him off. As the groups from each 
village left us when we quitted their bounds, this man 
perseveringly followed, I asked an explanation. He 
was a man against whom the Commissioner had decided 
a civil suit some weeks before. It was a decree on a 
bond which took away his land. He was dissatisfied, and 
adopted a practice which it seems is not uncommon. 
He had followed the magistrate some forty miles, sits 
all day near his tent, follows him wherever he goes, 
says nothing, but hopes by this means to procure some 
change of judgment. This seemed to me intolerable, 
and I requested a gentleman of the party, who com- 
bined muscular strength and firmness with an admirable 
gentleness of demeanour to the natives, to intimate to 
the man that force would be used if he did not at once 
retire. He accepted the hint, and for the time disappeared. 

We shifted camp next morning, and rode on some 
fourteen miles further to breakfast, spending the time 
in examination of crops. The neighbouring Rajah, 
after presenting himself, asked us to pay him a return 
visit at his Castle. So at four o'clock in the afternoon 
our party mounted two elephants, and rode through 
the town to his abode. It is finely situated on a high 
bank — a large, straggling, pretentious house, with a 
mixture of tawdry finery and unfinished rooms, which 
is the common characteristic of a wealthy native's 


dwelling. After going through some ceremony here, 
we walked on to his balcony, and saw a splendid 
piece of farming stretched out on the plain below. 
On returning home we passed through this, and found 
it chiefly tobacco of most luxuriant growth, poppy for 
opium newly sown, sugar-cane, jowar, and other crops. 
These grow on a large flat of fine alluvial land of 
several hundred acres, which in July and August is 
flooded by the river Goomtee, the rich deposits of 
which leave an annual increase of vigour. No farming 
could be finer, or more free from weeds. It was quite 
garden culture. Five wells, the water pumped up by 
oxen, were pouring their refreshing streams, carefully 
directed, among the crops. 

In the evening, about ten, my secretary* and I 
started in " Palki Dawk," which means that each was 
carried in a long coffin-like carriage, at full length, as 
in a bed, wrapped in our great- coats, for a five hours' 
journey to the nearest railway station. We had forty 
men, including a mounted sowar or swordsman as 
guard. Four men at each palki took turn and turn 
about in carrying us at a trot, and a torchbearer ran 
alongside each carriage. We crossed a ferry on the river, 
and were laid down about half-way till some dispute 
among the men was arranged. About half-past three a.m. 
we reached the railway, by which we proceeded to Fyzabad. 

The country towards Fyzabad varies from poor to 

* Now Colonel E. Pernberton Leach, Y.C., R.E., to whose knowledge 
of the language and people, and his tact in eliciting information, I was 
much indebted. 


good. The poor is in waste grass, useful for stock, and 
the good is land watered from wells, and showing 
every prospect of good spring crops. The sugar-cane 
is very good. In some places four or five men are 
doing the work of the oxen in drawing water from the 
wells, and, wherever there is a hollow in which water 
stands, it is being carefully lifted and distributed over 
the crops. The herds are few, many cattle having died 
during the late scarcity, and both men and women are 
therefore working the wells. This part of Oudh is not 
richer than the average of the great Indian plain. 
Groves of mangoes are frequent. The young trees are 
planted about twenty feet apart in squares, and are 
carefully protected by strong grass tied round them. 
The remarkably luxuriant crops of jo war and dhall are 
attributed to the land having had rest for a year, the 
previous crop having entirely failed from drought. In 
the near neighbourhood of Fyzabad the land is very 
highly cultivated, and yields, in some cases, £7 an acre of 
rent, under potatoes, for sale to the Europeans, and from 
tobacco, or opium. There has never been potato disease, 
and the crop is very profitable. An old and experienced 
Rajah told me that the land, except where manured, was 
losing its productive qualities by constant cropping, as the 
luxuriance resulting from a year's rest in fallow clearly 
showed; and that this was the general opinion of the 
cultivators, though the deterioration was so slow and 
gradual as not to be easily perceived. The people are 
improving in their circumstances, the railway having 
opened up new markets. Six years ago the Deputy 


Commissioner had occasion to make special inquiry into 
the economical position of the cultivators, and there was 
not one that was not in debt to the Bunyia. This year, 
on repeating the same inquiry, he found not more than 
fifty-three per cent, in debt. There is a prevailing 
opinion here that there is a great future in the land, that 
the revenue must increase at each new settlement, and 
that time and good management will bring all success- 
fully round. 

Much complaint is made of the needless labour 
thrown upon district officers by the secretaries of the 
General Government, in requiring minute explanations 
of matters which have already been examined and 
disposed of by the more competent judges on the spot, 
the superior officers in each Presidency, whose decisions 
are thus retried. This leads to an immense increase of 
desk work, and by so much interferes injudiciously with 
the local outdoor work, already heavily curtailed by 
increasing judicial labour. India seems to suffer much 
from the secretaries, men of ability and clever with the 
pen, some of whom, for these convenient qualities, rise 
to high positions without the opportunity of gaining 
experience out of doors, or any accurate knowledge of 
the people. As there is neither parliament nor public 
opinion in India to criticise or control them, and as 
their influence in questions of promotion is great, they 
possess a power not only quite beyond that of official per- 
sons in the same position at home, but greater than that 
of our parliamentary heads of departments. The inter- 
ference which they thus exercise is very properly creat- 


ing a strong desire for independence and separate self- 
government by each Presidency, and cannot be too soon 
placed under some effectual control. 

The sub-Himalayan plain, the country lying all 
along and nearest to the mountain range, is underlaid 
by a water-bearing stratum, arising from the heavy rains 
in the mountains, which finds its outlet here along the 
whole length of the North- West Provinces and Oudh. 
The water is so near the surface that in average years 
even sugar-cane needs little irrigation. But in seasons 
of extreme drought famine has been occasioned, as no 
provision has been made for " well M irrigation. It has 
been proposed to carry the water of the rivers by canal 
along this district. But water being so near the surface 
it is believed that " well " irrigation might be made at 
less cost, and without the evils which often attend canal 
irrigation in this part of the country. It was the east 
section of this belt that suffered most in the famine of 
1874, at Derbunga, and the west section in 1877. 

There are special products other than those which 
directly feed the people, towards which the attention 
of Government has been engaged, with the view of 
developing industries suitable to the soil and climate, 
and which in their value, and cultivation, and manu- 
facture, might create wealth, and give employment, 
beyond the common processes of agriculture. Of these, 
sugar, tobacco, and opium are as yet the most important, 
and indigo and jute, tea, coffee, and chinchona, are 
spreading in suitable localities ; and silk has been suc- 
cessfully introduced in the valley of Dehra Doon, which 


is 2,000 feet above the plain. The silkworm is sent 
thence to the hills in the hot season, and brought down 
in March to hatch, when the mulberry leaf is ready. 

Fyzabad is an ancient capital of Oudh. The most 
famous temple of the Hindus is at Adjudija, six miles 
out, on the banks of the Grogra. Here Earn, their great 
prophet, was born, and millions of Hindus every year 
make pilgrimage to the sacred birthplace. He dates 
200 years before Christ. His birthplace was desecrated 
by Baber, the Mahometan conqueror, 300 years ago, who 
changed it into a Mahometan temple. In that state it 
still remains. But to prevent dispute the Commissioner 
built a wall to separate the birthplace from the temple 
of Mahomet, and so secured to each of the rival pietists 
their reasonable share of the sacred ground. There is 
nothing grand about the place except its position, and 
the reverence borne for it by its devotees. Monkeys in 
great numbers run along the walls and about the courts, 
and no one interferes with them. The country round is 
rich and beautifully wooded. 

At ten p.m. we returned to our railway carriage, and 
lay down for a night's rest. In the middle of the night 
we were hooked to a passing train, and in the morning 
we were approaching Benares. This is one of the holy 
cities of India, with a population of 176,000, and is 
situated on the Ganges, after it has received the streams 
of the Jumna and other large rivers. In order to see it 
from the river we took boat, and were borne slowly along 
the front of the city, passing the numberless nights of 
stairs down which the people come to bathe in the sacred 


stream. There are temples, and princes' and great men's 
houses, along the bank, and the scene is highly pictu- 
resque. We saw several corpses brought down into the 
water, preparatory to being burnt, and one floating on 
the water. Leaving the barge, we then ascended by 
many steps to the streets of the city, which are narrow 
and rather unsavoury lanes, through which two can 
hardly walk abreast. The houses are high, the lower 
floor let in shops, and the upper storeys of the best 
inhabited by wealthy Hindus, who, after making wealth, 
come to die in the holy city. 

A Rajah and native landowner here, who had had 
experience and rank in the Government service, was 
freely communicative of his views. English rule will, 
he says, commence its downfall when natives, either 
Hindu or Mahometan, are entrusted with leading 
positions. The natives, in his view, are centuries 
behind the English, and as the latter are constantly 
learning and advancing, it is vain for the natives to 
hope ever to equal them. What the people of India 
desire is not only the protection which our government 
gives, but the rest which they find under it. They are 
slow to learn, very conservative by religion and nature, 
and sadly put out by the constant legislative changes. 
If the English would only do nothing but govern, 
seeking no speedy changes, but being content to let 
civilisation gradually grow, they would be very popular. 
The wisest governor would be he who would rest, and let 
them rest. The most beneficial works ever done in 
India he considers to be the railway and telegraph, 


both of which are highly valued by the natives. They 
are very suspicious, and fear any novel proceedings of 
their foreign masters, whom they, therefore, try to pro- 
pitiate, as they make offerings with the same object 
to their God. When an officer goes out to examine 
the country, they at once anticipate a new demand, and 
consider through what channel, and to whom, they can 
safely make a present to get an official friend on their 
side. Most native officers are believed to be approach- 
able in this way, and each must get a share. Knowing 
this natural feeling of their countrymen, the native 
officials readily avail themselves of it by encouraging 
the idea that approaching enhancement of rent or other 
demands are at hand. In times of famine, and so long 
as it lasted, this gentleman would prohibit exports of 
corn of any kind from India. There is enough every year 
raised within it to feed its people; no import is required, 
and if export were forbidden the price would not, in his 
opinion, rise to an extravagant pitch within India 
itself. I visited a village belonging to this gentleman 
eight miles up the river, and saw many of his tenants. 
One of them is a thrifty, prosperous man, who, having 
saved money, is now lending it on the security of the 
land to his poorer and less industrious neighbours, and 
is rapidly buying up their rights. In due time he 
will become a comparatively large sub- owner, and they 
his tenants or labourers. 

The Hindus, the Eajah informed me, have three 
castes : the Brahmins or priestly caste, the Shatrafs or 
soldier caste, and the Cultivators. To these a fourth is 


added, the Out caste, serfs or labourers. These are in the 
proportion, in each hundred, of ten of the first, ten of the 
second, thirty of the third, and fifty of the last. To the 
welfare of the first fifty the arrangements of Govern- 
ment are chiefly directed, and when their condition is 
prosperous, so, it is expected, will be that of the 
labouring class, who work for them, but have no land 
of their own. Water must not be touched in cooking 
by any but a Hindu, otherwise it is unclean, and a 
man would be turned out of his caste if he partook of 
it. Some men would die rather than do anything that 
would make them lose caste. It is this difficulty that 
prevents men of high caste from undertaking a long sea 
voyage, during which it would be impossible to prevent 
such contact as would injure caste. If a railway should 
ever be made to connect India with Europe, this 
difficulty would disappear, and many Indian gentlemen 
would then go to England. 

We left Benares at 6.30 on the morning of the 15th 
December, and arrived at Ghazeepore, forty-six miles, at 
10.15, doing the distance in the shortest time I have ever 
travelled by posting. Part of it we timed for four 
miles, at sixteen miles an hour. We changed horses 
five times, and were horsed through by the Maharajah 
of Benares, whose half-bred Arabs went most of the 
way at a hand gallop, a pair in each carriage. The 
coachman never left his box, but sat giving orders till 
the new horses were put on, and then quietly moved 
away, increasing his pace as we proceeded. He had 
excellent " hands," and drove with the greatest care 


compatible with such speed. The country for some 
miles was rich and luxuriant ; the road as smooth as 
possible, hard in the centre, and not metalled on the 
sides, where the unshod bullocks with their heavy carts 
jog slowly along. From side to side it was over one 
hundred feet in width, shaded by splendid mango trees, 
which always yield shade, and, in time of fruit, most 
of their sustenance to the native travellers. In other 
places there were fine tamarind trees. The wide road, 
with its beautiful shade and luxuriant foliage, could 
not be matched in the richest parts of England. 
Cultivated fields, covered with growing crops, stretched 
away across the plain as far as the eye could see, inter- 
spersed with grand park-like trees in full foliage. The 
young wheat and barley, about a foot high, was being 
watered from the wells by the diligent agriculturists, and 
their docile little white bullocks. The green dhall, 
about six or seven feet high, and the solid fields of 
sugar-cane, eight or ten feet high, betokened a rich 
and generous soil, from much of which a previous 
" rain " crop of jowar, and grain, had already been 

Village after village we flew through with John 
Gilpin speed, the two syces behind the carriage shouting 
out to the astonished inhabitants to stand clear. The 
elders bowed their heads in meek submission to this 
swift demonstration of visible power, the younger rushed 
to cover, the poultry escaped within an inch of their 
lives, and the lazy curs, suddenly aroused, had not time 
or spirit to give us even a parting growl. We come 



to an open country, with rice fields, and presently to 
ravines, which are always found near the great river 
banks. Our speed is diminished. We descend to the 
bed of the Goomtee, where we are followed by half a 
score of men from a hut on the road-side. This is near 
its junction with the Ganges. We cross the Goomtee on 
a bridge of boats, and on reaching the other shore, the 
men, at a signal from our active coachman, all join in 
a push up the steep bank, which we thus surmount 
without a pause. Taking a minute's breathing space 
for hurried instructions to our escort to return for the 
same help to the second carriage, our Jehu is off again 
along the level plain at a hand- gallop. I would back 
the Maharajah's coachman and cattle to go ten miles 
against the State Eailway, at its usual pace, for any 
moderate amount. 

We are now in a beautiful house, on the high bank of 
the Ganges, the hospitable residence of the opium agent, 
Mr. Eivett Carnac. This is the headquarters of one of 
the two great opium stations of India. It takes all that is 
grown in the North-West Provinces and Punjab, and 
part of Bengal. The growers have to obtain a licence 
from the agent to permit them to cultivate it. From 
the factory on the side of the Ganges it used to be 
shipped to Calcutta, but it is now sent by rail. The 
growers use their best land, obtain advances from 
Government, and must deliver all they grow at the 
Factory at a price fixed beforehand. That price gives 
them a larger return than anything else they grow except 
sugar, and yet it leaves a very large profit to Govern- 


ment. Each ball or "cake," as it is called (though wheu 
packed they look exactly like cannou balls), contains 
nearly four pounds of pure opium, closely packed in 
dried poppy leaves, and is worth about £3. Here they 
make a million such balls a year, from which the 
Government draws two millions sterling of profit. 
These balls are put into chests, and sent to Calcutta, 
where they are sold by auction, and the purchasers, 
not the Government, ship them to China at their 
own risk. The opium grown in India is of finer 
quality than the Chinese, and so long as its quality 
maintains that pre-eminence, the Chinese demand will 
probably continue, and the revenue from this source, 
which is nearly one-eighth of the whole revenue of India, 
is not likely to be reduced. In its manufacture it gives 
employment to many thousands of well-paid natives, 
yields a handsome profit to the Indian farmer who grows 
it, and in its careful cultivation forms a good preparation 
for the following crops. 

What had been the stud farm here has been converted 
into a tobacco farm, for which purpose it has been let to an 
English company. It is 800 acres in extent, good deep 
red land. A few villages in the Indian fashion have 
been run up to keep labourers on the ground, and each 
small holder is bound to put to the extent of one-fourth 
of his cultivation under tobacco. An American planter 
from Virginia is employed to superintend the manufacture 
of the tobacco when it comes into the factory. He says 
that the land here is much better than that of Virginia, 
and the crop, therefore, heavier. But here they must 


supply by irrigation the water which the climate gives 
there. It is got from tanks as long as they hold it, 
and by pumping from the Ganges when the tanks are 
dry. The greater dryness of the atmosphere may be 
a difficulty, but, from the experience he has had here, 
he believes that tobacco of as good quality may be 
produced as in Virginia. Labour here is less costly, six 
people being hired for the same cost as one, and they 
are quite as expert as the negroes. The tobacco can be 
grown and manufactured here at a total cost of not over 
sixpence a pound, and it sells at present for two shillings. 
The produce of an acre is 700 to 800 lbs., so that there 
is a good profit. It is being extensively and increasingly 
grown in other parts of India, and yields handsome 
returns for good management. 

Before leaving the North-West Provinces, I must 
refer to the division of Jhansi, where there is great 
distress. This is due in part to inferiority of soil, though 
at an earlier period of its history it is said to have been 
a nourishing district. The cultivators are very poor, and 
it was thought that the want of capital, which is the 
common lot, might be made good by giving them the 
power to borrow on the security of the public land. A 
law was passed which conferred a continuing right of 
occupancy, with power to mortgage or sell. The poor 
people, who never had industry or thrift enough to save 
and value capital, thus found themselves suddenly in a 
position to command it, though at ruinous rates of interest, 
by offering this new security to the native bankers, into 
whose hands they speedily fell. The land is passing from 

BENGAL. 101 

them, it is becoming overrun by kans grass (a gigantic 
twitch) from their inability to cultivate it, and they have 
fallen into such a hopeless condition of indebtedness 
that special legislation to restore the former system is 
contemplated. And, as an immediate remedy, it has 
been suggested that a Government agent should be 
empowered to set aside the " remorseless action of the 
civil courts," and summarily to settle all accounts 
between the people and the bankers, the district having 
become disorganised. 

A legal gentleman who called on me, a Pleader 
before the Courts at Lucknow and Calcutta, thinks that 
the higher education now being given to the people of 
lower caste will in fifty years make it impossible for us 
to hold the country. 



Crossing the Ganges, and travelling some forty miles 
further south-east, we reach Behea, having now entered 
the great province of Bengal. There are believed to be 
twelve million ryot holdings in this Province, one-half 
of which yield less than 10s. each of yearly rental to the 
proprietors. The latter pay to the Government, under 
permanent settlement, £3,600,000, and receive from their 
tenants £13,000,000, or nearly four times more than 


they pay. The difference, upwards of nine millions 
sterling a year, is not the whole cost to the Government 
of the permanent settlement, for thousands of acres of 
fertile land are left in jungle, in many parts of the 
Presidency, from the inertness of the descendants of 
the fortunate zemindars to whom the public property 
was made over, for a quit rent, about a century ago. 
The object of introducing a class of large proprietors 
was attained by elevating the revenue agents to that 
rank, but overlooking the interests of the ryots, who for 
the most part were the real landowners of the country, 
subject no doubt to the uncertain demands of the 
Government. The cultivated area of Bengal is 
54,600,000 acres, which (reckoning the double crop) 
is four times the extent of the corn and green crop land 
of the United Kingdom. Besides feeding a population 
double that of ours, there is an annual export of produce 
through it of the value of upwards of twenty millions 
sterling. The average price of cultivated land is from 
£2 to £6 per acre, according to situation and quality, 
subject to a Government land-tax of a penny up to 
eighteen-pence per acre. Field labourers' wages vary 
from twopence to sixpence a day, the latter rate being 
common in the villages of the Presidency division and 
in those of Dacca and Chittagong. When wages are 
paid in kind they are more uniform, being from four to 
six pounds of grain a day. 

Near Behea we visited an estate of 20,000 acres, 
reclaimed twenty years ago from jungle, and now under 
fine crops. It is let on a beneficial lease for fifty years, 


by the Government, to Messrs. Burrows, Thompson, 
and Milne, who reclaimed the land, and have settled 
numerous small tenants upon it as cultivators on ten- 
year leases, with no " occupancy rights," and no power 
of mortgaging their land. The land is quite flat and 
well wooded, a fertile, easily-wrought, reddish loam, and 
watered by the Soane Canal. The people pay 8s. to 
10s. an acre for the land, and 3s. for the canal water. 
They grow rice, sugar cane, opium, oil seeds, wheat, 
barley, and vegetables, all of the most luxuriant appear- 
ance. They manufacture the sugar themselves, by 
simply passing the cane through iron rollers, which 
squeeze out the juice, and this they boil in a flat pan, 
heated by the " trash," or haulm of the cane. The 
sugar crop yields a clear profit, after all costs paid, of 
£4 to £10 an acre. Mr. Milne, a Scotchman, who has 
been here twenty years, says that the small farmers, 
who live in mud huts built by themselves, are more 
comfortable and independent not only than our agricul- 
tural labourers, but than our small Highland cottier 
farmers. They are quite as intelligent in business as 
cultivators, for they do all the varied operations them- 
selves. He finds them very fair in their dealings, and 
very tractable if they see they are fairly dealt by. There 
is still much good land farther south, suitable for English 
capitalists, equally capable of improvement, and with 
water advantages. 

The climate is now sensibly warmer than it was in 
the Northern Provinces, and the palm-tree and rice 
cultivation begin to prevail. The plains covered with 


rice fields are at this season bare and bleak, and more 
treeless than other parts of the conntry. The land on 
the Soane is of a more sandy nature and reddish tint, 
and not so rich-looking as that of the Ganges plain. 
There are trees here, as in the North-West, called 
Mohawah, which yield a fruit that dries like a raisin, 
and then is converted into spirit. It also yields oil 
from the pulp, and the pulp itself may be likewise used 
for food. 

After inspecting a manufactory of sugar-cane mills 
specially in use by the small farmers, we embarked on 
the Soane Canal in company with Colonel Haig, R.E., 
the Engineer-in-Chief for Bengal, and Mr. Levinge, the 
resident engineer of the works. We steamed some 
fifteen miles into the country, getting out at various 
places to see it. The canal itself is a splendid work, 
and in the engineer's opinion has made this part of 
Bengal quite safe from famine. 

We found the rice crop being harvested. It was 
various in yield ; some not over 400 lbs. an acre, some 
over 1,200 lbs. It is reaped with a sickle, the reapers 
sitting on their heels, and laying it down in sheaves, 
which later in the day are tied up and then placed in 
bundles of about twenty sheaves, tied neatly with a 
thin straw rope, and all carried home every evening on 
the heads of the reapers. Nothing is left loose in the 
field. We followed it to the threshing floor, and here 
seven oxen in a row, tied together, were walking over it 
round a fixed centre, and treading out the corn, the 
oxen "not muzzled. " A little further was the heap, 


previously threshed, being winnowed by being skilfully 
held aloft and lightly shaken in the wind, while the 
chaff and dust were blown away. In the outhouse of 
the owner was a woman husking the rice, by standing 
on the end of a pole balanced so that the other end 
gently hammered the grain and separated it from the 
husk. In another outhouse was an ox grinding oil-seed 
for the supply of oil to the family ; and still further, 
but out of doors, a small sugar mill pressing the sweet 
juice from the cane, which was then poured into the 
heated pan, and evaporated and boiled into sugar. All 
these various industries we saw going on amongst these 
intelligent villagers, all of whom seemed to have their 
own special work to do. 

On my way home I called on Mr. Drummond, a 
brother of the late Mr. Peter Drummond, of Stirling, 
the famous tract distributor, and an old friend and 
constituent of mine when M.P. for Stirling. This 
gentleman has been fifty years in India, is seventy- 
eight, and has thus a right to speak with the weight of 
great experience. He had enjoyed good health, likes 
the country, had always been an up-countryman, and 
knew the feelings and habits of the people well. He 
gave me his opinion of the natives as skilful agricul- 
turists, though poor, and a good quiet people, though 
with some not commendable qualities. They are quite 
ready to adopt new crops when proved to be remunera- 
tive, a remarkable instance of this being the rapid 
increase of the sugar crop, which has grown from a 
produce in this district of 28,000 to 280,000 maunds in 


three years. The great evil is the facility given to 
incur debt, and the difficulty is to find out a manner of 
utilising the indispensable bunyia, without so much 
limiting his legal remedy as to create the need of more 
stringent terms on the borrower. Time, patience, and 
the higher prices of produce, will, he believes, ere long 
render the cultivator more independent. The intelli- 
gence is there ready to be utilised. Mr. Drummond, 
as the result of his long observation, has no belief in 
the theory of the exhaustion of the soil of the Great 
Indian Plain, which still, in a fine year with seasonable 
rains, and an occasional fallow, yields splendid crops of 
every kind. The old gentleman was much pleased to 
see me, and said he would let them know at home that 
he had had a call from " the Member." 

The Soane Canal, when completed, will cost over 
three millions sterling, and will be capable of irrigating 
over one million acres. To pay 5 per cent, and working 
expenses, a charge per acre will be required of 5s. All 
the better class of land can afford this easily, but it may 
be found heavy on the poor land, and therefore a charge 
proportioned to the benefit derived will probably be 
adopted. The great zemindars under the Cornwallis 
settlement, who leave their rich jungle land in its 
natural state, pay nothing, as they refuse the water, 
though it would increase the value of the land tenfold 
if it was cleared and cultivated. Whatever may 
be said of the principle of that settlement, the in- 
considerate haste with which it was carried out, and 
the want of regard for the rights of the culti- 


vators, lias in more than one shape entailed a heavy 
loss on India. 

The collector and magistrate here has a district of 
6,000 sqnare miles and two millions of people nnder his 
charge. He has daily reports from his officers stating 
the fall of rain or otherwise, the appearance of the crops, 
and the state of crime. It is quite a small kingdom, 
over which he reigns supreme without a parliament, but 
responsible to his Commissioner and the Lieutenant- 
Governor. To this position, which for the due fulfil- 
ment of its various most important duties demands 
powers of no ordinary kind, the Civil Service claim right 
of seniority in appointment, a claim which, in the in- 
terests of the people, ought not to be listened to. 

We left Arrah on the morning of the 1 8th of December, 
but not before paying a visit to the house, now histori- 
cal, which was the scene of the famous siege during the 
mutiny in 1857. Mr. Boyle, an engineer, with prudent 
foresight, had stored it with provisions and ammunition 
on the first news of the outbreak. Three regiments of 
mutineers marched upon it on their way to the north, 
expecting it to fall an easy prey. All the English at 
the station took refuge in this house, Mr. Wake, a 
civilian, taking the command. They were six men 
in number, with twenty Sikh soldiers who stood by 
them. The English posted themselves on the principal 
floor, the Sikhs holding the floor below. Within a 
hundred yards stands a larger house, which was seized by 
the enemy, where they placed two guns, which fortunately 


burst soon after opening fire. For three days the 
besieged party held their ground, hoping every hour for 
relief. But water failed. Boyle set the Sikhs with their 
bayonets to dig a hole below the cellar, which fortunately 
yielded water ! In the night they made a raid outside 
and captured some of the rebels' sheep. For ten days 
they held the place, killing many of the enemy without 
losing a man themselves, and were then relieved by a 
force under Sir Vincent Eyre. Six Englishmen and 
twenty Sikhs against 3,000 mutineers. Wake got for 
this splendid deed a C.B. ! Boyle was more substan- 
tially rewarded. The house is a small two - story 
bungalow, the ground quite flat all round, and with 
many fine park-like trees. We were lodged within 150 
yards of this house, with every door now open all night, 
as is the common practice in this country. 

Soon after passing Behea, we crossed the river 
Soane — on the longest stone bridge in India, I believe — 
at this dry season consisting of two small streams flowing 
on each side of its wide bed. We passed Dinapore, 
and Patna, where there is an immense granary, which 
was built many years ago as a safeguard against famine, 
but never used. The country is richly cultivated, with 
many temples and tombs among the gardens and potato 
fields. The land is beautifully managed, in fine fields of 
tobacco, linseed, and the small squares of poppy for opium. 
Palm trees are now seen overtopping every woodland, 
many single, some in avenues. Vast sweeps of verdure 
stretch away from the railway in the rice districts, gram 
and other late corn crops now in many places covering 


the ground from which the rice has been carried. The 
plantain, with its broad shining leaves, throws its cool- 
ing shade over the workers at the wells. Parrots and 
other birds of gay plumage perch on the telegraph wires. 
Verily it is a goodly country, from Mooltan to Calcutta 
a splendid plain of good land, for 1,600 miles. 

At the next station we left the main line, and went 
a few miles down to the Ganges, where the agent for 
the railway had kindly provided a steam launch. The 
Ganges here is of great width, and much nearer the 
level of the land than I have yet seen it. When in 
flood it overflows much of the country. We steamed 
across and down the river for eight miles, passing about 
a score of alligators basking on the sand. Entering a 
train on the other side, in three hours we reached 
Derbunga, passing some very fine fields of tobacco on 
the way, much rice, and a fine crop of pulse everywhere. 
This was one of the worst affected districts during the 
famine of 1874. As a famine relief work the collector 
planted mango and other fruit trees along the sides of 
some hundred miles of the public roads, which, besides 
now affording welcome shade to the weary traveller, are 
capable of yielding, for six or eight weeks, food to tens of 
thousands of people, good and palatable when eked out 
with a little rice. 

There are two lines of railway proposed for the 
north of this district, 114 miles altogether, which would 
pass through a populous country, tap Nepaul on its 
richest side, and have a large paying traffic. The 
country is level, no tunnels nor large bridges are 


required, and the land is cheap. In this locality the line 

could be constructed at £6,000 a mile, inclusive of plant. 

There is here, and in many other parts of India, an 

excellent opening for railway enterprise if conducted on 

principles of strict economy. Though the financial 

position of the Government prevented new works being 

then undertaken by them, the advantage they would 

reap directly, as the great landowners, in having access to 

markets opened up to their tenants, besides the greater 

safeguard against famines which railway access secures, 

might justify the risk of offering a partial guarantee 

upon well-selected lines. The State lines already made 

by Government are in fact as much guaranteed lines as 

those termed " guaranteed," for they are made with 

borrowed money for which the Grovernment must pay 

interest. A better policy might be to induce capitalists 

to take this business into their own hands by offering a 

partial guarantee, on a specified expenditure, sufficient 

to give a basis of security, without lulling that activity 

and care which are necessary to the complete success of 

such an enterprise. Three per cent, consols are now 

almost at par, and while money is so cheap it seems not 

improbable that an offer of a three per cent, guarantee 

by Government would induce capitalists in this country 

to come forward, provided, under proper restrictions as 

to rates, the entire profit beyond the guarantee were left 

to them. Lines of railway made in this way through 

tracts of country as fertile as those to which, without 

any guarantee, British capital is sent in America, and 

with the great advantage over America of an abundant 


population, fond of moving about, could hardly fail of 
success. The Government would be relieved of details 
for which it is not well adapted, while continuous work 
of construction would be secured, and men thoroughly 
trained in the business of transport and traffic manage- 
ment would be substituted for officers without such 

In front of the railway station at Derbunga on the 
morning we left, the 20th of December, we were fortu- 
nate in getting a fine view of Mount Everest, 29,000 
feet, the highest of the Himalayan range, and the 
highest mountain in the world, 180 miles distant. Two 
grand snowy peaks were distinctly visible by the eye, and 
plainer still by the aid of a glass. The sky was cloudless. 

On returning to the Ganges from Derbunga a branch 
of new railway was being laid at the river, where I 
observed that the carrying of earth was all done by women, 
in baskets on their heads, and coals were being landed 
on a wharf and carried by women in the same manner. 
On crossing the river we proceeded southwards by the 
East Indian Eailway, through a country more or less rich. 
Towards nightfall we passed through Sonthal, where, 
some few years ago, the cultivators cut off the heads 
of some of their bankers, as the readiest way of paying 
their debts. It is a hilly and poorer country than most 
I have seen. In the morning we reached Burdwan, 
where at 6.30 we were received by the collector, and 
immediately driven some miles through a more fertile 
country to inspect its agriculture. The whole of this 
region within eighty miles of Calcutta is good rice land. 


There is generally rainfall sufficient to mature a rice 
crop, and year after year the same ground is called on 
for a new crop, which they say varies with the season, 
but on the whole shows no sign of exhaustion. 

Walking through the rice fields, from which most of 
the crop is now cut, we come to a village among ponds 
of water. The mud huts have, in long generations of 
successive owners, gradually raised themselves above the 
dead level of the surrounding country — each new hut 
being founded on the ruins of those preceding it — at 
once raising the level of the dwellings, and sinking by 
the excavated soil the large and deep ponds which have 
yielded the material for the latest as well as the earliest 
erections. The villages are thus found to be situated 
on raised mounds, from which they overlook the sub- 
jacent rice plains ; and, as it is only on these mounds 
that trees flourish in this wet country, each village has 
its fine ancestral trees overhanging the houses and 
shading the water. Among these are the two kinds of 
palm, the short but massive-leaved date palm, and the 
tall cocoa-nut palm overtopping all others. The people 
of Lower Bengal are a darker race than those in the 
north-west ; they have jet-black hair, and many of the 
younger men go bareheaded in the sun. Having but 
one general crop, rice, they have vegetable gardens close 
to the villages, and these are certainly not less comfort- 
able than those where greater variety of produce is 
raised. Every house has an outer house for the cattle, 
whence you enter a small court-yard, upon which the 
dwelling-house opens. Most of the buildings are of 


mud. Some are more substantial, and many of them 
with tile roofs, often covered with creepers, and hearing 
a fine crop of pumpkins, lying warm in the sun among 
their glistening leaves. The people seem to an English 
eye scantily clothed, hut they have great freedom of 
movement ; and as most of their hody is covered with 
only its natural garment of dark shining skin, they are 
in no way dependent on the tailor for fashion, for theirs 
does not change. The women do not run off here at 
the sight of a stranger, and the- men and boys readily 
enter into conversation. The dogs alone show a keen 
feeling of inhospitality, which their dark owners try in 
vain to dispel. The little oxen look sh}^ and the black 
buffalo cows must be very warily passed, as they lower 
their twisted horns with evident signs of sincerity. 

This village is said to be a fair sample of those in 
the neighbourhood of Burdwan. The people are on the 
whole well-to-do. They have all good stocks of rice; 
some of them have four years' stores by them, stored in 
round stacks of unhusked rice. They spend so little ; 
7 lbs. of rice to a family of five will feed them hand- 
somely — say 3^d. a day, or £5 6s. a year, and their 
clothing perhaps 30s. more. Nor do they desire to 
improve their mode of living. They drink no strong 
liquors, and the poorest of them are kind to poor 
relations. The Hindu religion enjoins this, and every 
one who has any land considers it a duty to feed the 
infirm and poor of his own kin. There is no poor-law, 
and until recent famine years there were no poor. If 
we compare with our agricultural labourers these people 


with their little farms, their cattle, and their rice, the 
Indian on this good soil has the better lot, so far as the 
enjoyment of life is concerned. He is his own master, 
works hard at seed-time and harvest, but has long spells 
of light or no work between. As prices rise, he will 
become independent of the bunyia, and be able to treat 
with him on equal terms. 

In Bengal there are three conditions only upon 
which the landowners can claim an advance of rent from 
cultivators who have permanent rights of occupancy : 
1. If the land be found on measurement to be larger 
than was supposed. 2. If the land be held at a lower 
rent than the prevailing rate for similar land with equal 
advantages held by the same class of cultivators in the 
vicinity. 3. If the value of the produce, or the produc- 
tive powers of the land, have increased otherwise than at 
the expense or by the agency of the cultivator. The 
court will grant a claim for abatement of the first and 
third in case the contrary may have occurred. The 
judge here is opposed to the extension of " occupancy 
rights," as certain to lead to more subdivision, because 
the Hindu law directs all property to be divided amongst 
sons. This has already, in some localities, led to the 
smallest subdivisions — a cowrie being in some instances 
the rent paid by an occupant, which indicates a density 
of population beyond the power of the soil to maintain 
it. The system of village communities is much safer, 
as it does not recognise individual rights of property, 
and thereby compels the superfluous population to go 
forth for the common safety. To limit the power of 


oppression by the bunyia, it is recommended here to 
restore the old Hindu practice, that a debt should not 
be legally increased by interest to an amount beyond 
twice the original sum borrowed. 

In the evening of Saturday we reached Calcutta, 
where we spent Sunday. I went to the cathedral, 
which is a handsome church, with a statue of Heber in 
the vestibule, and an inscription to the memory of my 
old school-fellow, Col. Eobert Yule, who fell at the siege 
of Delhi, "bravest among the brave, and gentlest among 
the gentle/' On the left of the door- way, there is a mural 
monument to Colonel Baird Smith, who directed the 
engineering operations which led to the capture of 
Delhi, and who died at the early age of forty -three, 
having, during his comparatively short career, rendered 
great services to India. 

On Monday, the 23rd of December, we proceeded 
to Eastern Bengal, travelling through a very rich 
country, chiefly in rice, except where the land is slightly 
elevated above the flat plain, when it is covered with 
winter crops of wheat and barley, vegetables, mustard, 
and other luxuriant- growing oil plants. After travelling 
180 miles through this richly cultivated country we 
reach Groalunda, the point of junction of the Granges 
and Brahmapootra. These two grand rivers, starting 
from opposite sides of the same snowy range in the 
Himalayas — the one at first flowing west, and then, on 
reaching the plain, turning south-east ; the other flowing 
east, and, after rounding the eastern end of the 
Himalayas, turning west — both, after a course of 1,000 


miles, here mingle their waters, about 200 miles from 
the sea. They then become an immense river, far larger 
than the Mississippi at St. Louis. The Rhine and the 
Rhone are streamlets in comparison. 

Here we embark in a two-funnelled steamer of 
great size, with comfortable little rooms on deck which 
we occupy for the next three nights, and in the 
usual bright sunshine we commence our cruise on 
this great inland navigation. You may go up the 
Ganges seven hundred miles, up the Brahmapootra 
five hundred miles, up another river to Cachar two 
hundred miles, on all of which steamers ply, besides 
many smaller rivers and channels permeating the 
country, and covered with country boats bringing down 
jute to be shipped at Chittagong, 250 miles below us, 
for Dundee — or rice, and other produce with which 
this country teems, for Calcutta. The banks of the 
rivers are not above fifteen feet higher than the stream — 
rich alluvial mould. During the rains in June, July, and 
August, and, when the snow melts on the Himalayas, 
the greater part of the flat country becomes a sea, the rice 
and jute are covered with water, and the people in their 
villages, on the slightly elevated grounds, isolated, and 
communicating with each other by boats. This is not 
an unhealthy time. It is when the rains abate and the 
rivers return within their beds, and the soaked ground, 
covered with rank vegetation reeking in the blazing sun, 
throws out its exhalations, that fever sets in and carries 
off a large percentage of the population. This is not 
unfrequently followed by cholera, so that if nature has 


been prolific of soil and crop, it is not unattended with 
ills from which our more niggard soil and harsher 
climate are happily free. To the eye of the agricul- 
turist the country at this season is magnificent. The 
people are all afoot, or in boats. As we open each new 
channel, fleets of white sails are coming down before a 
light breeze, graceful as swans ; and at every village we 
pass — and they are thick along the banks — the people 
are laving water, bathing in the stream, or plying their 
little high-sterned boats nimbly about. Every mile or 
two we pass what appears like the spire of a village 
church, but which really marks the place where some 
Nawab's body was burned, the spiral form of monument 
being here used instead of the more common dome. 

The valley of the Brahmapootra contains 20,000 
square miles of fine alluvial land. This is more than 
double the area of the cultivated land of Egypt, all 
fertile, and much of it with abundance of fine coal, and 
an ample rainfall. It is traversed by a navigable river ; 
but, with all these advantages, it is obliged to import rice 
for the support of the imported coolies who work the 
tea estates. There is every opportunity and motive for 
colonisation — people too numerous and on the edge of 
famine if the rains fail, within 600 or 800 miles, with 
railway most of the way, and a navigable river, and the 
same supreme Government ; and yet three-fourths of 
this fertile region are still in jungle. In the Garrow 
Hills, which project into this plain, coal of excellent 
quality is found within 250 miles of Calcutta, with 
water carriage, wanting only a connecting link between 


the river and the coal field. Though surrounded by our 
stations, this high country is inhabited by lawless tribes, 
and is still marked in the maps as " unexplored." 

The rivers are constantly encroaching in one place 
and leaving another. We passed two large castles, both 
of which were originally some miles away from the 
river, but from change of its course are now undermined 
and sliding into it, the roofs and all the woodwork 
having been removed. The river bank is lined for some 
miles with cottages made of bamboo, and covered with 
steep thatched roofs. The cultivators who inhabit them 
are ready to move back or forward as the river alters its 
course, fresh fields being at their disposal in exchange 
for those which the river absorbs. They are charged 
Yery low rates for this rich fresh alluvial land, a mere 
acknowledgment, as it is capable of growing any crop, but 
subject to this risk. The captain of the steamer, who has 
been many years on these rivers, tells me that three coolies 
will do as much work as one European, if employed by 
contract. There is much pottery made along the banks 
and shipped on the river. We passed a steamer with 
two large cargo boats tied to her side, carrying from 
1,400 to 2,000 tons of produce. They gather this on 
the river side, some going to Goalundo, whence it passes 
by railway to Calcutta, some direct by water to Calcutta 
or to Chittagong. This part of the country has been 
greatly enriched by the extension of jute, the cultivators 
hitherto getting all the profit, as united action has 
enabled them to resist an increase of rent, and the 
value of the crop is three times greater than that of 


rice. This, by diminishing the area of rice, has lessened 
the supply of food more than is thought to be either 
safe or desirable. We land on the bank, and walk 
through the fields to a village which displays many signs 
of prosperity, in good houses, and plentiful reserves of 
grain stored up in large beehive-like stacks for future 
sale or consumption. 

Turning up the branch river to Dacca, we meet 
numbers of cargo vessels coming down under full sail, 
and pass two sea-going ships at anchor and taking in 
cargo. The left bank has a continued succession of 
villages, nestling among the trees, and is very populous, 
some parts having 1,000 to the square mile. Small 
boats crowded with people are moving about, and the 
scene is lively and gay in the warm sunshine, the light 
but cooling breeze, and the sparkling water. We pass 
a white steamer, with a lighter covered with awnings 
tied to her side, in which the commissioner is making 
his rounds to his different stations. Then an indigo 
factory, no longer used, the cultivation of indigo having 
been given up here, the increasing value of other crops 
rendering it comparatively unremunerative. Some kinds 
of jute grow on dry land, some three feet deep in water. 
There is no artificial irrigation here, but the overflow 
of the Brahmapootra covers the country and leaves a 
rich deposit upon which jute and rice equally thrive. 
Two crops of rice in a year are quite common, one the 
wet, the other the dry crop, and as there is a fresh 
deposit with every annual flood the land improves under 
this system. 


The land is held under permanent settlement, and 
as the Government has no immediate interest in the 
question of rent, the landlords and their tenants fight 
that out with the help of the courts of law, the tenants 
making up a common purse for the purpose. The law's 
delay, and the difficulty of dealing with large numbers 
of small tenants, enable these to get the upper hand by 
uniting against enhancement of rents, and even against 
any rent, as the landlord is called on by the courts to 
show by his books that he has received the precise rent 
for five years back ; otherwise they will not grant him 
a decree, thus casting the onus on him to show that he 
is entitled to rent. A large landowner complained to me 
that while Government exacts its rent to the day, or 
sells the estate of the defaulter, its courts throw such 
difficulties in his way, that from three of his estates, 
with hundreds of small occupiers, he is unable to get 
any rent, as in each single case he is compelled to 
sue, and it has become a question whether it will pay 
to do so. The circumstances here are the reverse of 
what we found them in the North- West Provinces. 
There the Government interfered to protect the cul- 
tivator from the landlord by giving him " occupancy 
rights," which, being transferable, were quickly pawned 
by the poor man to the money-lender. Here the culti- 
vators, being near good markets, have become so inde- 
pendent that the landlord asks for Government assistance 
against them. Their united action in withholding rent' 
is a serious matter, especially to the small landowners, 
whose caste and condition often forbid them to cultivate 


the land themselves, and who are thus dependent on the 
rent for their living. The lesson to be drawn from these 
opposite results would seem to be that the less the Govern- 
ment, and the courts of law, interfere in the relations 
between landlord and tenant, the more likely are they 
to be satisfactorily arranged by the mutual interests of 
the parties. 

I found the price of salt here three-halfpence a pound. 
A family of four will consume four pounds a month, or 
4S lbs. in a year, at a cost of 6s. The duty is nine- 
tenths of the price, or in this case about 5s. od., and, as 
the earnings of the family are 16s. a month, the salt-tax 
costs them the thirty-fifth part of their wages. This is 
equal in our term to a sevenpenny income-tax, but it 
presses most heavily on the poorest, though it indeed is 
the only tax, direct or indirect, which the mass of the 
people pay. 

The rivers here swarm with fish, which must be 
salted to preserve them for transport, but the cost 
of salt is three times that of the fish, and an 
abatement of the duty for fish- curing is allowed by 

Dacca is an ancient city standing on the edge of a 
navigable river, on an elevation of red clay some twenty 
feet higher than the low rice plain. It was before our tim e 
first a Portuguese, and then a French station, originally 
for the Dacca muslin trade, a manufacture which is still 
carried on. There is a military station which, at the 
Mutiny, was recaptured from the mutineers by the 
officers and sailors of the fleet. In the vicinity there is 


a fine park, with a good race-course, the sport on which 
is greatly enjoyed by the native population. 

We were invited by the Nawab to a garden party 
on the river side, where there was a good instrumental 
band. He took us through his large and handsome 
house, and I had much useful conversation with 

Some miles from the town, when driving into the 
country, we met a man carrying on his head a nicely 
balanced load of earthen pots, packed on a circular hoop 
crossed with string. It was balanced by a stick held 
over the shoulder keeping it all square. He had fifty 
of these pots, weighing together 120 lbs., on his head, 
and was stepping along at a quick springing trot, a 
capital mode of conveying brittle ware over a bad road. 
Other men were carrying equally neatly arranged head- 
loads of vegetables and fruit to the Dacca market. 
There is a large export of rice from this division, 
amounting last year to 150,000 tons. 

In the district below Backergunge, which was swept 
a few years ago by the terrible storm waves, the land 
is so productive that the people who were left are 
quickly recovering prosperity. They are self-reliant 
and industrious, and live in great comfort, spending 
their money freely at the fairs in the idle season from 
January to May. They dwell in homesteads of two 
or three acres, with a raised road running to the 
river, lined on each side by cocoa-nut and date palms 
and other fruit trees. They have an outer house where 
they transact business, receive visitors, and put up 


guests for the night, and an inner house for the family. 
So productive is the soil that many support themselves 
from their homestead gardens, and have the crop of 
their farms for sale. 

On our return to Calcutta I had an opportunity of 
seeing the city and its environs during the Christmas 
week, when I had the honour of being the guest of the 
Viceroy. The population within municipal limits is 
430,000, of whom two-thirds are males, and one-third 
females. This remarkable disparity is shared in a less 
degree by the city of Bombay, but not at all by that of 
Madras, where the sexes are equal in number. The 
total population of each province shows no such disparity, 
Bengal and Madras having an equal proportion. The 
Hindus and Mohammedans are as two to one in the city 
of Calcutta, and province of Bengal. 

The city stands on the Hooghly branch of the Ganges, 
about 80 miles from the sea, to which it is navigable 
by large ships. The river-bank of Calcutta is lined with 
shipping, from which, and from the fortress, a fine park 
stretches along the front of the city to the grounds of 
Government House, the residence of the Viceroy. This 
park, the Maidan, is very extensive, and includes a race- 
course, and abundant space for the exercise of troops and 
the recreation of the public. It contains numerous statues 
of personages more or less notable, and a lofty pillar, the 
most conspicuous object in Calcutta, to the memory of 
Sir David Ochterlony, " statesman and soldier/' who 
died in 1825. Of Clive and Warren Hastings I found 
no memorial here. There are equestrian statues of 


Lord Hardinge and Lord Mayo, with appropriate inscrip- 
tions, and "to Earl Canning, Governor- General, and 
first Viceroy of India," with the date of his birth and 
death, but nothing more. Remembering the trying 
times of the Mutiny, and the calm courage he displayed 
during those terrible months, it struck me that the 
words, mens aqua in arduis, would be an appropriate 
addition. In the neighbourhood is a statue of the 
great Governor -General, Lord Lawrence. In the 
beautiful public gardens nearest to the shipping 
stands in white marble the statue of " Sir William 
Peel, V.C., K.C.B., commander of the Naval Brigade 
in the War of the Indian Mutiny," whose ship-guns 
I saw at Lucknow, and whose courage and devotion, 
and too early death, will not soon be forgotten 
by his countrymen. At Calcutta, as at previous 
halting-places, the Famine Commission held careful 
courts of inquiry, having here an opportunity of 
examining several of the higher officials who had 
had practical experience of the management of Indian 



We left Calcutta on the 2nd of January at 7 a.m., and 
spent all the day going down the river to the Sandheads, 
in the troopship " Tenasserim," in which we were so 
fortunate as to get a passage to Madras. The low 


banks of the river are much wooded, the palm being 
predominant. Towards evening we passed the revolving 
light, and soon afterwards stood on a south-west course 
across the " black water." The evening was very fine 
with clear moonlight, the stars glancing bright from the 
dark background through light fleecy clouds. The next 
morning brought a fine breeze, brightening the colour 
of the translucent water, now, under the influence of 
powerful sunlight, a sparkling blue. We pass Jugger- 
naut, which stands on the edge of the sea. Next 
day we are off Vizigapatam, having passed Ganjam in 
the night. The line of coast is partly low, and partly 
long hills with peaks in the distance rising from 600 up 
to 2,000 feet. The town lies at the foot of the hills, a 
temple, prominently placed on a spur, overlooking the 
harbour. In that part are the places of business, and, 
to the east of it, the native town of thatched mud-houses. 
About a mile farther the villa suburb, where the houses 
of the principal inhabitants are built, stands on a low 
height amidst evergreens and trees, open to the refresh- 
ing sea breeze, and, as seen from the sea, very like the 
villas on the road from Cannes to Nice. 

Boats of the most primitive build come off with 
oysters, vegetables, and poultry. They are simply three 
pieces of timber, about nine inches square and twelve 
feet long, tied together at each end, and pointed to 
pierce the wave. Two men kneeling, the one in the 
front, the other in the stern, propel them by a small oar 
or paddle, the wave running in over the bows and out 
at the stern. The harbour master came off in a large 


Mussowlie boat which carries many people, the rowers 
keeping time by a monotonous chant. These boats have 
their planks bound together by cord, not by nails, and 
are so elastic that the planks do not break, but "give," 
when the boat is driven broadside on the beach by the 
heavy surf which nearly always runs upon this coast. 
We landed through a great wave over the bar, but 
without surf, inside a quiet harbour, shut in by rounded 
hills, not unlike Dartmouth. It was the last day of the 
feast of Mohurrum, and the whole population were in 
the streets in gala suit, following processions of fragile 
but showy erections with figures carried on platforms 
shoulder high by men with painted faces, preceded by 
drums. The people looked well fed and clad, and all 
were gay and in high spirits, much like a country fair 
at home. There was quite a brilliant display of colour, 
the women and girls with jewels, or gold or silver orna- 
ments in their noses, and on their arms and ankles. 

The system of land tenure here is that of large land- 
owners, a few small ones, and the remainder cultivators. 
The rent paid by the last is about three times that which 
the Government receives from the landowners. The 
cultivators seldom have rights of occupancy, but they 
are not oppressed by the zemindars. The labourers 
without land are worst off, as there is little demand for 
labour. The Collector's district here is 21,000 square 
miles, and is larger and more populous than Greece or 

We returned to the ship in the evening. Already 
we feel the increasing heat of a more southerly 


clime. Though careering over the waves, with a strong 
breeze, we sleep with cabin windows wide open (3rd 
January). There is always bright sunshine by day, and 
brilliant starlit skies by night. But, lovely though it 
is at sea, the hard light and glare on shore make one 
long for the veiled sunshine of an English morning. 

Next morning we were off Coconada, the sea-port of 
the navigable canals and great irrigation works of the 
Godavery. These works, which are a monument of the 
engineering skill and ability of Sir Arthur Cotton, are 
confined to the delta of that river. It has a course of 
900 miles, and receives various affluents — making with 
it a total mileage of 2,610 — 420 miles of which are 
capable of navigation, above the Anicut, for five months 
of the year. On the main river the general fall does not 
exceed one foot in the mile. Below the gorge where 
the river breaks through the eastern Ghats, navigation 
is practicable most part of the year. In this gorge the 
river is narrowed from a width in some places of two 
miles to 300 yards, the hills rising from the water's 
edge to a height of more than 2,000 feet. Here the 
scenery is very fine, and has been compared to that of 
the Bhine. Emerging from the gorge which it has 
traversed for twenty miles, the river spreads itself into 
a broad stream, dotted with islands, till passing out of 
the hills it continues its course to the great Anicut 
of Dowlaisherum, whence it is conducted through the 
fertilised delta by a network of irrigation canals to its 
outlets at the sea. These canals are constructed 
for navigation also, so that they serve the double 


purpose of producing a crop, and of conveying it to 

The area of delta land irrigated by the Godavery is 
540,000 acres. The soil is a black deposit, carried 
down by the river, and gradually spread over its sandy 
delta. The crop chiefly grown is rice. In the famine 
year of 187G — 7, rice to the value of half a million 
sterling was exported from Coconada. There is seldom 
more than one crop of rice taken the same year, either 
because there is not time for a second crop to mature, or 
because the first crop exhausts the land so much that it 
cannot }deld a second until it has had a fresh coat from 
the irrigation of the wet season. The cost to the Govern- 
ment of interest and maintenance is about Is. 8d. an acre, 
and as the rates paid by the cultivator are 16s. an acre 
for a sugar crop, 8s. for rice, 4s. for dry crop, there is a very 
large profit to Government from the Godavery irrigation. 
The exports of produce from Coconada have increased 
eightfold in consequence of the irrigation works, and 
each five years continues to show a growing increase. 
The canals of the Kistna, which are now connected by 
the Buckingham Canal with the Godavery, afford 
irrigation to 265,000 acres, and both systems are capable 
of considerable extension, and, from the few locks and 
bridges required, are peculiarly favourable for navigation 
also. The Buckingham Canal, completed during the 
late famine, affords a boat communication of 400 miles 
between these districts and Madras. 

Landing at Madras, we disembarked from the 
Mussowlie boat at the central jetty, thus escaping the 


surf on the beach. Considerable progress has been made 
in the erection of the concrete piers now advancing from 
the shore at each extremity of the new harbour works. 
Unlike those of Alexandria and Port Said, the quays are 
built with a perfectly smooth face, the force of the wave 
here being greater, and this mode of construction being 
for that reason preferred by the engineer, who entertains 
the fullest confidence in the future success of the harbour 
works, not as yet, however, realised. The inconvenience 
of the surf which constantly runs along this open shore 
is not, except in gales at the time of the monsoon, a 
serious obstacle to trade. During the late famine there 
was more work done in landing cargo than the most 
sanguine ever expect to see as a regular trade, and it 
was all done by lighters, loading and unloading from the 
ships at anchor in the offing. All along this coast, not- 
withstanding the surf- wave, the same safety in landing- 
cargo by Mussowlie boats can be counted on. 

Approaching it from the sea, Madras is seen to ad- 
vantage. There is a long flat coast clothed with trees, 
among which, in openings of the woods, portions of the 
city become visible. The tower of the lighthouse, the 
large white house the residence of the Governor, with 
its park, next to it the fort, and then the handsome new 
buildings of the Legislative Assembly and the Eevenue 
Board, come prominently into view. The temperature 
is at this season, January, eight degrees higher than 
that of Calcutta, but the fine sea breeze compensates for 
that. Though the climate is more damp and unpleasant, 
it is not unhealthy, and the city is well supplied with 


water. It is 840 miles from Calcutta by sea, and ten 
degrees nearer the equator. In a population of about 
400,000, there is a larger proportion of Christians, and 
a smaller of Mohammedans, than in any of the other 
great cities of India, three-fourths of the people being 
Hindus, one-eighth Mohammedans, one-eleventh Chris- 
tians, and the remainder various. 

The country is well clothed with wood, and, except in 
the thickly populated parts of the town, the houses of the 
poorer class are embowered in shrubberies, and those of 
the Europeans placed in handsome, park-like enclosures. 
There are fine roads in all directions, and large sweeps 
of lake-like rivers and canals. The military bands play 
on alternate evenings at the seaside in the cooling breeze, 
within sound of the heavy booming wave that never 
ceases to break on this open shore. This may be termed 
" the Eow " of Madras, whence the carriages convey 
their owners to the Club, where the ladies interview each 
other, while the gentlemen go in to learn the latest news 
before returning home with them to dinner. 

In extent and population the Presidency of Madras 
exceeds by a little that of the United Kingdom. The 
food crops cover an area nearly twice as great as ours, 
22,500,000 acres compared with 11,600,000. One-fifth 
of the whole is irrigated land, but not quite one-third 
of that derives its supply from unfailing sources, the 
rivers which take their rise in the western range of 
mountains, and are fed by the monsoon rains. The 
remainder is dependent on reservoirs or tanks, which 
collect the rainfall in the low country, are generally 


shallow basins, which, when full, cover as much land as 
they serve, and are liable to be rapidly evaporated by the 
scorching heat of the sun. The proportion of level land 
is much less than that of Bengal or the North- West 
Provinces, and, except in the alluvial plains of the 
great rivers, the soil is poorer in quality, and, under 
the present exhaustive system, rapidly deteriorating in 

One fourth of the Presidency is under zemindars who 
have a " permanent settlement," the majority of whom are 
said not to be good landlords. Three -fourths are under 
the ryot wary system, the cultivators holding their lands 
directly from the Crown. Among these there is little or 
no litigation about land, the practice being to give any 
unoccupied land to the first applicant. The result of the 
two systems appears to be much the same when viewed 
in contiguous tracts, the tenant of the zemindar who 
pays a higher rent than the Government ryot showing 
no outward sign, either in his cultivation, his house, or 
mode of living, that would indicate any inferiority in 
his condition; the ryot's power of minute subdivision 
amongst his sons constantly tending in both cases towards 
poverty. The ryot's rights are heritable and transferable, 
and are very valuable on the rich well- watered land. 
On the poorer soils they are of little value, and are often 
resigned to the Government. 

There are twenty collectorates in the Presidency, on 
seven or eight of which a settlement of the land revenue 
for thirty years has been completed, which has resulted 
in a considerable increase, chiefly from the discovery of 


land that had escaped assessment. The test of increase, 
however, is not the productive power of the land, but the 
rise of prices as affected by situation, and the opening of 
railways or roads to better markets. The collectorates are 
generally too large in extent, several collectors having, 
with three European assistants, to superintend districts 
as large and populous as Belgium. The tendency here 
of officialism is to bring every person into subjection to 
the rule of the leading officials in the capital, who are con- 
stantly asking for returns and statistics, which, though 
often laid aside and buried in their bureaus when they get 
them, occupy much of the time of the district officers in 
inquiry and preparation. The natural relations between 
landlord and tenant are occasionally made the subject of 
experimental theories by men who never had any land 
of their own, but, when placed in power, desire to leave 
their mark on this great social question. 

Within easy reach of the city of Madras is the experi- 
mental farm of Sydapet, under the very able management 
of Mr. Robertson. Many experiments of great interest to 
Indian agriculturists are being carried out here, both in 
the cultivation and management of crops, and in the 
improvement of the breed of live stock. The economical 
application of water to the growing crops, in a country 
where water is so essential, has been carefully studied, 
and the sandy porous soil of this farm makes the study 
a matter of supreme necessity. The rainfall supplies 
one-third, and irrigation two-thirds, of the 5,400 tons of 
water which each acre of the soil of this farm requires for 
the production of a good crop. A well with a double lift, 


worked by one bullock, yields 100 tons, or one inch of 
water over an acre, in a day. By the machinery here 
adopted one bullock does nearly the usual work of two. 
The application of water in ordinary seasons doubles the 
crop where the ground is manured, and in seasons of 
drought makes a crop certain. But the cost of its 
application from a well, if all labour is counted, is not 
less than 40s. to 50s. an acre. Where water is got by 
gravitation from a canal, there is generally great waste 
of this expensive but valuable article. One of the 
points most insisted upon as the result of Mr. Robertson's 
experience here is the necessity in India of economising 
water for irrigation. The next is the substitution of 
wood fuel for cow-dung in order to preserve the manure 
for the land. This, he finds, might be done by planting 
hedge-row timber, the Inga dulcis, of quick growth, which 
after three years would yield four tons of wood fuel 
per mile. The manure itself might be largely increased 
by fodder crops : cholum, if irrigated, will yield five 
crops in a season. This, he thinks, might be grown on 
part of the fallows, of which in Madras there are four 
million acres. Guinea grass is found a capital rota- 
tion crop for grazing, as it cleans and refreshes the land 
when put down for two years. The area of wheat in 
Madras is small, the temperature being too high for it. 

The improvement in the breed of sheep has been 
attempted here by selection, and crossing native breeds. 
The merino cross will be tried. The produce of the 
breed when improved is distributed over the country 
for the same purpose through the civil officers. 



As an educational establishment Sydapet lias sixty 
students of the average age of twenty- two, who have 
previously matriculated at the universities. They 
are Parsees and Brahmins and others, from Bombay 
and Madras, who will return to their own districts as 
instructors in agriculture. They go through a regular 
three years' course of chemistry, botany, zoology, vete- 
rinary surgery, surveying, and bookkeeping, and are 
employed an hour in the field every morning in practical 
agriculture. The students are thus not only instructed 
in the several sciences connected with agriculture, but 
are familiarised with its practice, and with the instructive 
experiments in the use of water and manure, the improve- 
ment in the breeds of live stock, and the economy of 
labour by improved implements and machinery. 

One of the most interesting experiments which has 
been made at Sydapet is that of the value of cow-dung 
as manure in its natural state, compared with the ashes 
of the same quantity after being burnt and used as fuel. 
The former weighed 3,150 pounds, the latter 130 
pounds. To two equal adjoining plots of land these 
severally were applied, and a third plot had no manure. 
The plots were otherwise treated alike, and the whole was 
sown with a green fodder crop of cholum. The weight of 
fodder from the first and second cuttings was : — 

First cutting 
Second cutting . 

Weight of both Cuttings 

Plot 1, 
with manure 

Plot 2, with 
ashes of manure 

Plot 3, 











The ashes thus gave the largest crop at the first cutting, 
the manure in that form more quickly yielding its 
strength. At the second cutting, the more slowly acting 
dung showed the larger result. But the weight of the 
two cuttings together is so nearly alike as to lead to the 
inference that the universal practice in India of using the 
dung first for fuel, and afterwards as ashes for manure, 
ought not to be too hastily condemned. This being 
a question of great economical importance, I ventured to 
press on Mr. Eobertson the propriety of repeating and 
testing the experiment. Very great advantage to India 
is likely to result from the well-considered experiments 
carried on here by Mr. Robertson. 

The Governor, the Duke of Buckingham, took me out 
with him to the country to an afternoon party, five miles 
from town. It was a charming afternoon, with a fine 
breeze from the sea, and we drove over a good road 
through quite a park-like English country. The house, 
that of Mr. Justice Kearnan, is finely situated on a river, 
in the midst of grounds and gardens plentifully inter- 
spersed with flowers and flowering trees. There was a 
large and pleasant party, and a kind and hospitable host. 

After taking the evidence, for several consecutive 
days, of the leading officials, including that of the Duke 
of Buckingham, the Governor, we left Madras on the 
evening of the 1 6th of January, to visit the southern part 
of the Presidency. At six next morning we were at 
Erode in the valley of the Cauvery, described by the Duke 
of Wellington, in 1804, in words exactly applicable to its 
present condition. " Innumerable canals," he says, " are 


cut from it, from its rise in the western mountains till it 
falls into the sea. And these happy countries are certain 
of a crop, whether rains are abundant or otherwise. No 
.river in India is so much taken advantage of, and none 
with such a fall, and banks so low, and therefore 
naturally so capable of use." From Erode to Trichi- 
nopoly the railway skirts this plain, along which the 
main canal is carried, whence the water is carefully spread 
over the richer ground on the flat, and thence to the 
little squares that divide each owner's patch. Here rice 
is most carefully planted and cultivated, and is seen in 
all stages of growth. Nothing can exceed the perfection 
of this rice culture. Every plant has its place, and not 
a blank is visible. 

From the top of the rock of Trichinopoly, which 
rises 400 feet out of the plain, it was extremely pleasant 
to breathe the invigorating air, and enjoy the lovely 
view in the setting sun. As far as the eye could reach 
the rich plain, watered by the canals, was covered with 
vegetation. The Cauvery, with its affluents, waters 
probably a greater area than any river in India. Besides 
the irrigation of its valley in Mysore, and its further 
course through the districts of Coimbatore, Salem, and 
Trichinopoly, the irrigated area of Tanjore alone is 
7:25,000 acres. Its revenue exceeds that of any other 
river in India, and nowhere has the cost of construction 
and maintenance been on so moderate a scale. The 
system of irrigation here is very ancient, and the Cauvery 
has been preserved from the danger of its waters passing 
into the Coleroon, by Sir Arthur Cotton's great work in 


1836, the Anicut, which controls the river at the head 
of the delta, and enables the engineer to direct its course 
at his discretion. The range of the Shevaroy hills bounds 
and is seen along the northern edge of the plain, one hill 
of which very much resembles Arthur's Seat at Edinburgh. 

The villages are built of the red clay of the country ; 
the houses thatched, small, and poor. There are no 
gardens round the villages, and the people are much 
alike everywhere. Here is a man sitting on his 
haunches with a large bundle tied up in a white cloth 
beside him, and but for the man's head it would be 
difficult to tell which is the man and which the bundle. 
We pass small temples, with figures of horses on each 
side, looking towards them. The great Hindu temple 
of Trichinopoly, with its 1,000 pillars, and 10,000 
people living within its external walls, appeared to me 
grotesque, extravagant, and anything but awe-inspiring. 
Not a feeling of reverence entered my mind as I walked 
through the tawdry aisles, and no room was found for 
it when, at the most sacred spot, where the jewels of 
the idols were brought out for exhibition, a Nautch 
girl began her dance to a monotonous jig tune, and a 
couple of elephants, taught by their keepers to make 
a begging snort, at the same time appealed to our 
sympathy. The temple is built on an island among the 
devious waters of the river, and approached by a bridge 
through groves of palms, and other lofty trees, which 
hide its great extent. 

The collectorate of Trichinopoly was re- settled for 
thirty years in 1864. It contains 356 villages, and the 


Government assessment was then reduced 25 per cent. 
Since the time when Clive lived here, in a house still 
standing at the foot of the Rock, and from times much 
more recent, population has largely increased. Prices have 
risen, railways have been made, export markets have 
been opened up, irrigation has been improved, life and 
property are secure — but the land revenue declines ! 
And for the plain reason, that no limit is placed to the 
subdivision of property, and thereby every encourage- 
ment is given to the increase of population. By the 
Hindu law of subdivision among male children, an 
estate of 100 acres held by one man may be reduced in 
three generations to holdings of three-fourths of an acre 
each. And many are in that condition, for the majority 
will stay at home, and subdivision becomes excessive. 
The Government charge for land in river-irrigated 
villages here is not one-third of what is paid in some 
other localities no better in quality. It is not the pro- 
ductive quality of the soil that must alone be considered 
by a paternal Government which is also the landowner, 
but the capacity it possesses to maintain the population 
upon it. In a generation or two more, if this principle 
of subdivision remains unchecked, there will be no 
revenue left to the Government. Even the rich soil 
of Tanjore, with a population now exceeding 1,000 per 
square mile, is said to be noticeably falling off in pro- 

In the native states along the coast of Western 
India, from Cape Comorin to Goa, there has been for 
many centuries a system of strict entail, by which the 

MADURA. 139 

eldest son succeeds to all the property, and the rest of 
the sons are not allowed to marry. Large estates have 
thus during all that period been kept together. The 
cultivators have leases for twelve years, with a renewal 
fine every twelfth year. A sum of money is paid at the 
beginning, and the use of the land is given as interest 
on this sum ; but the fine was originally stipulated for, 
and the connection is thus maintained for generations. 
The cultivators may subdivide, but there are as many 
adding to their lands as those who diminish them, and 
the proportion of small properties does not increase. 

Sugar-cane, plantain, saffron, betel, are all grown in 
the Trichinopoly district, and yield good returns. There 
is also some black soil suitable for cotton, which, 
however, is not much grown. The ashes of cow-dung 
are carefully preserved for manure, but town refuse is 
little prized. 

Crossing the ridge of dry land towards Madura, we 
go through a country which was heavily pressed by the 
famine — a red stony soil, dry and parched, most of it 
lying uncultivated, and all showing signs of deficient 
water supply, and unremunerative agriculture. Within 
a few miles of Madura, we pass into the valley of the 
Vigay, where the cultivation improves greatly, the supply 
of water being there tolerably certain. At Madura we 
are within ten degrees of the equator, and the sun is 
very powerful. 

The early morning is the best time for exploring 
this ancient city of 52,000 people. The palace of the 
kings is unroofed, some two and a half centuries old, 


but very spacious and magnificent. It was a real 
pleasure to wander through the grand colonnades, which 
are now being restored to be used for the courts of law, 
compared with the tawdry and grotesque ornaments of 
the famous Hindu pagodas in the immediate vicinity. 
The high towers of the latter are, however, wonderful in 
their way in point of construction and ornament. 

Madura is a great centre of Christian missionary 
enterprise — English, American, and German — all of 
whom claim a large measure of success here. It is gained 
primarily through schools at which orphan children 
are brought up and educated, and through the native 
women teachers, who are readily admitted to the zenanas. 
The Hindu here is said to be a difficult subject to work 
upon, patient and dumb in politics and therefore easily 
ruled, but tyrannical over his women — timid, selfish, and 
often untruthful. His best quality is his appreciation of, 
and implicit trust in, the justice of the British officers. 
The American missionary told me this was a genuine 
feeling of the people, who, though very poor, are better 
off than when he first came to the country thirty years 
ago. Many go to Ceylon to earn wages at the coffee 
and other plantations there, in order to return and buy 
land, their highest earthly ambition being the possession 
of a piece of land in their native villages. To convert 
them into labourers would, he thinks, be to bring them 
entirely under the power of their native employer, who 
is seldom liberal or just. 

Returning by the same route to Erode, we traverse 
a very well- cultivated country, though narrowed by the 


highlands on each side, to Coimbatore. It produces 
sugar, tobacco, chilies, and grain crops. The water is 
got from wells at a depth of twenty to thirty feet. Of 
the eighty thousand landholders in the district, fifty 
thousand pay less than 20s. each of annual rent. There 
is great competition for the purchase of land which has 
right of water for irrigation, £80 to £100 an acre being 
paid for it. Dry land with no right of water brings 
about as many shillings. The habits of the cultivating 
class are said to be very brutish and immoral in this part 
of the country. From Coimbatore to the foot of the 
Nilghiries the land is very fine. 



At Metapollium, we leave the plain to enter upon an 
ascent of 8,000 feet, which is accomplished in a tonga, 
or two- wheeled dog- cart, drawn by two horses, from a 
pole fastened to either saddle, curricle fashion. The 
splendid mountain in front of us without a cloud to its 
summit, and clothed with wood up all its grand gorges, 
with little waterfalls glistening through the green 
precipices, and interspersed with masses of feathery 
bamboos gracefully intercepting the brilliancy of the 
sun, and with crimson flowers of the wild rhododendron, 
and brightly coloured creepers of every hue, was a sight 


never to be forgotten. We zigzagged for hours, each 
change of horses taking us 1,500 feet up, till the coffee 
plantations, at an elevation of 4,000 feet, are reached, 
which increase in extent till they cover the mountain- 
side up to 6,000 feet — very steep, but very regular and 
tidy, the smooth green bushes in rows like dwarfed 
bays. The manager's house, the packing houses, and 
the coolie lines, all betoken the presence of arrangement 
and capital, and form a marked contrast to the squalid 
native villages of the rich plain below. At a still 
higher elevation we see handsome single villas, nestling 
among green tree -covered rocky terraces, and finally reach 
the summit of the gorge at the Wellington Barracks, 
used for convalescent soldiers sent here from the low 
country, where many poor fellows find a last resting- 
place in the pretty cemetery at the riverside. Here we 
enter upon an elevated open country, like Exmoor or the 
Cheviots, without trees or bushes ; after passing through 
which for some ten miles farther, we drop down upon 
the wood- clothed Ootacamund, the hill station and seat 
of Government of Madras during the hot weather, and 
then the fashionable resort of that Presidency. It is 
extremely pretty — villas on hill-tops surrounded by trees, 
not unlike those on the common at Tunbridge Wells, 
and now, in the middle of January, with weather like a 
cool, pleasant, sunny summer day at home. There are 
public gardens, and a pretty lake fills up the winding 
hollow, with a drive of some three or four miles round 
it. In this pleasant spot we spent some days examining 
commissioners, collectors, planters, and gold - miners, 


and in walking and riding over the neighbouring 

We rode through the Government chinchona plan- 
tation here, for the production of the febrifuge, quinine, 
which is extracted from the bark of the tree. The bark 
is cut from the growing tree in alternate strips running 
up the tree, leaving an interval between the strips to be 
taken the next year, and resting it the third. The 
naked strip is covered with moss bound round the tree, 
and, underneath the moss, a new skin or bark forms. 
The plantation is carefully managed, and in suitable 
situations the chinchona is found more profitable than 
either coffee or tea. The elevation here is 6,000 to 
6,500 feet, and the exposure north-east, so that no injury 
should be done to the trees by the south-west monsoon. 
Eight years are necessary in the growth of the young 
tree before the bark is sufficiently matured to bear its 
subsequent treatment. In the tenth year the return 
may be 400 lbs. of dry bark per acre, and about 450 
trees per acre come to maturity. The plantation costs 
£80 an acre to bring into bearing. Two coolies an acre 
receive constant employment. The gathering of the 
crop, delivery in London, and the collecting of the moss 
cost £6 an acre. When well managed, and at present 
prices (12s. a pound), it is highly remunerative. There 
is room for its extension, but officialism, here as in 
other parts of India, is said not to favour the introduc- 
tion of European capital, and is against the creation 
in India of wage-paying classes. The assessment or 
rent charged by the Government for land occupied by 


Europeans, as quoted to me here, is almost double that 
charged to native cultivators. 

Coffee plantations are fairly successful on the sides 
of the plateau, but not higher. Tea is not so likely to 
pajr, for the south-west monsoon, instead of bringing 
the warm rain which develops the leaf, is cold and 
ungenial. This might in some degree be ameliorated 
by planting the elevated ridges for shelter, as is said to 
be done with much advantage in Ceylon, where 100 
yards in width is reserved along all ridges for a belt 
of shelter timber. The wattle-tree, the bark of which 
is much valued for tanning in Australia, has been in- 
troduced, and is expected to be capable of profitable 
extension here. 

The Wynaad gold-field is in this part of the country. 
The Government geologist, Mr. Brough Smythe, who 
(in addition to official men and planters) was examined 
by us, and has had much experience in the Australian 
gold-fields, considers this to be as fine a field of quartz- 
bearing gold as he has seen. But it is not of the 
alluvial kind which attracts the digger with no other 
capital than his pick, and therefore there is no chance 
of a labourers' rush to these diggings. It is gold in the 
quartz veins of the solid rock, that requires machinery and 
considerable capital to extract, and still greater skill to 
be released from the pyrites with which it is conjoined. 
These gold-beds have been more or less worked for many 
generations, and there is some hope that the improved 
machinery of the present day may ere long render them 
more productive than at any former period. Ancient 


workings of a scientific character, far beyond the present 
skill of the natives, have been recently discovered. 

The people who do not change are the peasants. 
They produce from the ground the means of living 
with the smallest amount of labour; they increase and 
multiply in prosperous years, and when famine comes 
they are swept off in thousands, and reduced to the 
standard of ordinary food production. There is, 
however, one aboriginal race, called the " Todas," in 
these highlands, which is said to be rapidly dying out. 
They make a precarious existence by their flocks, and 
live apart from other races. The Government maintains 
" reserves " for them. They are to some extent no- 
madic, moving about as they list for the convenience 
of their sheep and goats — a dirty, black, long-haired 
people, repulsive in appearance, and abject in manner. 
They differ from the Hindus in this, that instead of the 
men having more than one wife, the women have a 
variety of husbands. 

The Hindu woman may well complain of subjection ; 
she walks behind her husband, does not sit in his 
presence, eats humbly of the victuals he leaves, and 
addresses him as lord. A wife, if asked to tell her 
husband's name, puts her hand over her mouth, and 
refuses to do so as wanting in respect to him. The 
women do most of the work out of doors. They carry 
on their heads the heavy burdens, weed the crops, help 
to cut them, and do the grinding of the corn, the cook- 
ing of the meals, and into the long hours of the night 
weave the clothes. The men confine their labour chiefly 


to the working of the bullocks, and all thereto per- 
taining. Bullocks do all the farm work and all the 
cartage. There is said to be not a cart-horse in India. 

On returning from the hills to the plain, I had some 
conversation with the horse proprietor who posts this 
road. The famine had been very bad in the plain, and 
there was a constant flow of people up to the hills in 
the hope of finding something better. But as there was 
nothing to be got there, it was found necessary to 
station the police at the head of the Grhat, to turn them 
back, and hundreds then died in the woods or on the 
roads. At Metapollium, on the plain, the scenes of 
want and famine were dreadful, the starving people 
following the post-horses to pick up, and ravenously 
devour, any undigested corn dropped by the horses. 
And yet how soon do all traces of the famine disappear 
after the surplus have died ! Along this road, as we 
passed, a tramway was being constructed, on which men, 
women, and boys were all engaged, and all were active, 
well fed, and cheerful. Even children, who are the first 
to fail in famine, seemed swarming in the villages. 

Our next halt was at Bangalore, in the native State 
of Mysore, where we were most hospitably received by 
the Resident, Mr. Gordon. It is a plateau 2,000 feet 
higher than the plain, and the night temperature is 
sensibly colder; but even at this season, the 25th 
of January, there are musquitoes. The roses here are 
very fine, and the first I have seen in India, and they, 
with mignonette and heliotrope, give colour and perfume 


to the rooms. The young Maharajah will be of age in 
two years, when he will assume the authority now 
exercised by the Eesident. The famine struck this 
State with terrible severity ; about one-seventh of the 
people died. The city contains a population of 142,000. 
In the fort is the cell where Sir David Baird was 
chained to a native prisoner. 

There are handsome public and botanical gardens, 
and an experimental farm near the city. The manager 
of the latter, Mr. Harm an, contends, from the expe- 
rience he has had of the climate and soil, that if the 
land were deeply ploughed, and the cattle manure, 
instead of being used as fuel, applied direct to it, it 
would generally yield crops without artificial irrigation. 
Three crops may be taken in a year where there is 
"well" irrigation : first, maize, a three months' crop, used 
green as fodder ; secondly, sweet potatoes ; and thirdly, 
cholum or large millet. Captain Kensington, R.E., 
mentioned heavy crops grown by him experimentally, 
under native management, on good deep red soil, but 
not deep cultivation. The maximum produce on 
manured land was 2,650 lbs. of grain, and on land with- 
out manure, but with two years' fallow, 2,380 lbs. per 
acre. Potatoes from 98 lbs. of seed per acre gave a 
return of 9,800 lbs., on land watered from wells and 
manured. Two crops of potatoes can be grown in a 
year, and a crop of three months' maize between. Of 
eight hundred square miles surveyed by Captain 
Kensington, sixty are under " wet " cultivation, sixty 
are submerged by tanks for irrigation, two hundred and 


thirty are " dry " cultivation, and four hundred and 
fifty are waste but part cultivable. The gross produce 
per acre of the "dry " land is reckoned worth 40s., and 
is charged 2s. for Government rent ; that of the " wet " 
land is worth 120s., and is charged 6s. for rent, the 
revenue taken by Government being in each case one- 
twentieth of the gross produce. This seemingly fair 
but erroneous principle leaves 38s. an acre in the hands 
of the one farmer, and 114s. to the other ! 

Descending 1,300 feet very gradually in about 100 
miles to Jollarpet, we pass from a stony country into the 
rich plain which for ages has received the washings of 
the higher land. The palm is now again common, and 
the general appearance of the country is much richer 
than Mysore. As we proceed, the Penar valley is nar- 
rowed by projecting rocky hills till we pass from it into 
that of the Palar, where it widens into far reaches of 
fertile land, mostly under rice in all stages of growth — 
some just planted, some pushing through the glistening 
water, some coming into ear, and some under the sickle. 
The fields are small, and as these various processes are 
goiug on in the warm sunlight, the people are all out, 
and look picturesque in their divers-coloured garments — 
some planting, some reaping, others on the threshing- 
floor with the oxen treading out the corn, and here and 
there a shepherd and his boy leading and following their 
Hock. The ground nut, which yields oil, and is largely 
exported, is being dug out and gathered, a numerous 
party working at this in line, under the superintendence 


of the cultivator. Women and children are all busy. 
Though the famine was very severe in some parts of this 
district, and the mortality great, there is no sign of want 
of labour either of man or beast, and the people look 
happy and in good condition. It is marvellous how 
quickly, in this country, the effects of famine are effaced, 
there being more room for those who survive it. 

At Yellore, eighty miles from Madras, we lodged in 
the fort, a strong place in former times, surrounded by 
a ditch, the walls built of large granite blocks, but now 
commanded by high hills which are within range of 
modern artillery. Within its walls are a fine Hindu 
temple and a Mohammedan mosque, the former now used 
as a military post, the latter as a post-office. George 
the Fourth sent out a frigate to bring home the temple 
in pieces, to be set up at the Brighton Pavilion as a 
specimen of Hindu architecture. But war had meantime 
broken out, in which the frigate was employed for the 
transport of troops, and before it was concluded the king 
was gathered to his fathers, and his successor, King 
William, did not persevere with the project. 

I visited the gaol, which is under the management 
of Major M'Leod. There were 1,540 prisoners inside, 
and 500 outside, under guard. The number increased 
one-fourth during the famine, dacoity (robbery by bands 
of more than five) being the principal crime. There is 
a central office, the roof of which overlooks the entire 
premises, on which a sentinel is alwa}^ posted. From 
this centre eight separate compartments radiate, each 
with sleeping range in centre, and working sheds on each 


outer wall. The prisoners are divided equally amongst 
these ; all are kept employed, the task being moderate, 
but each prisoner being capable of earning good marks 
entitling him, with good conduct, to more or less remis- 
sion of sentence. Some make men's slippers and shoes, 
some do carpentry work, most weave handsome Indian 
carpets, the best of which are sent home to London for 
sale. The prisoners' clothing, and that of the police, 
are woven in the gaol. The prisoners have a bath every 
day when work is done ; their condition and health are 
excellent, the death-rate last year being only one per 
cent. New-comers are manacled for the first three 
months. Incorrigible idlers are forced to carry weights 
round a circle at a good pace. The food is given in 
equal portions at ten and in the afternoon. On three 
days of the week each prisoner gets &yq ounces of 
mutton in addition to the daily meal of grain seasoned 
with salt and curry-powder, and a due proportion of 
vegetables. The average cost of food is £6 6s. a year. 
Every arrangement seemed good, and everything was 
most fresh, cleanly, and orderly, and in the highest 
degree creditable to the management. 

In the evening we came on to Madras, where, as 
at all the principal stations, the Commission took 
lengthened evidence on famine management. Before 
leaving Madras I spent a night in his observatory 
with Mr. Pogson, the well-known astronomer, who 
has contributed valuable observations on the sun-spots 
as indicative of seasons of drought. These lead him to 
the conclusion that this Presidency is safe from famine, 


from that cause, for the next seven or eight years at 
least. The periodicity of droughts of great intensity 
seems pretty well established, but not their exact year or 
precise locality. 

On the 1st of February we reached Cuddapah, 160 
miles north of Madras, where the famine had been very 
severe. It is a cluster of villages in a rich plain, with fine 
mango and other trees shading the roads, bordered by a 
range of hills very bare but not high enough to afford a 
sanatorium. The place has a bad reputation for fever, 
but is in a rich, fertile country. From the rice-fields a 
heavy crop had just been reaped; and though (probably 
indeed because) in some parts of the district one-fourth 
of the people died during the late famine, all now look 
well fed and happy, and their cattle in fine condition. 

After taking evidence from Europeans and natives in 
regard to the famine, we visited the canal of the Madras 
Irrigation Company, the lower division of a great project 
of Sir Arthur Cotton, which was originally meant to 
comprise two divisions. One of them was to carry the 
superfluous water of the Tungabhadra through the dry 
district of Bellary to the Kistna near Kurnool; another 
to take off a portion of the joint rivers Kistna and 
Tungabhadra near Kurnool, across the watershed 
separating it from the Penuair, the united waters then 
being turned into a canal where a navigable connection 
was ultimately to be formed with Nellore and the sea. 
A great area of land was thus to be irrigated, while the 
produce, for 400 miles, would have an outlet to the sea- 
coast. The lower half of the project has alone been 


constructed, that from Kurnool to Cuddapah, and as 
yet it has disappointed all expectation. An English 
company was formed, with authority to raise a capital 
of £1,000,000 on a Government guarantee of five per 
cent. But the cost of construction, based on estimates 
for deltaic districts, was enormously increased by the 
difficulty of crossing a rugged country, and the estimated 
capital was found quite inadequate to complete the work. 
Further sums were raised, and the guarantee extended, 
but an unexpected difficulty arose, in the refusal of the 
water by the cultivators of the black cotton soil, of 
which one-half at least of the irrigable land consists. 
The difficulties financially are thus doubled: first, by the 
vastly increased cost of the works beyond the original 
estimate ; and secondly, by the want of demand for the 
water on so large a proportion of the irrigable area. 
Nor is the latter difficulty likely to be overcome, for in 
years of average rainfall the black fertile soils yield 
large crops without irrigation, their power of absorbing 
moisture from the atmosphere, and of retaining it, 
having been shown by the experiments at Sydapet to be 
six or eight times that of an ordinary dry soil. In a 
financial view this canal is a complete failure. The 
great value of wells, however, for irrigation was most 
forcibly shown in this district by the experience of the 
collector, Mr. Gribble, during the late famine. 

North of Cuddapah we pass through a fertile, highly 
cultivated rice district, where the people were reaping 
and threshing heavy crops. We skirted several villages 
nestling among trees, and surrounded by good crops, a 


land of very small farms which, in good years maintains, 
in abundance of rude food, a numerous population, who 
unfortunately have little thrift, or saving, to protect 
themselves in years of scarcity. All the really good 
land is occupied. 

At Yarragoontha we enter the black soil where 
cholum, followed by cotton or indigo, is the usual 
succession, and where the larger fields of the same kind 
of crop indicate large holdings. The soil is underlaid 
by horizontal rock, which splits into thick slabs like 
Caithness flags, and affords excellent material for the 
numerous bridges which carry the railway over the wide 
but, at this season, dry beds of the rivers. The native 
Tahsildar of the district travelled part of the way with 
us : a very intelligent, observant man. Two-thirds of 
the ryots, or small landholders, he said, are poor, most of 
them as poor as the coolies who have no land. Five acres 
of the good black soil he reckons the minimum that a 
family can live comfortably upon, and ten acres of land 
of an inferior quality. The high prices have enriched 
the wealthier cultivators, but have impoverished the 
poorer. The increase of population, none of whom 
will leave their villages if they can eke out the 
scanty supply of food by nuts and seeds from the 
woods and jungle, is pressing on the means of sub- 
sistence. The uncultivated land is only to be found 
in the poorest localities, and is used for pasturage, 
rent-free. When taken up for cultivation it operates 
in two directions : first, by narrowing the rent-free 
grazing of the old cultivators; and secondly, by 


offering a very risky investment for the labour of the 
most needy. 

We pass some thickets of date palms where the date 
is taken for distillation into "toddy," the favourite 
spirit of the country. 

At the principal stations the native passengers are 
served with water by a Brahmin, from whom, being of the 
highest caste, all persons may take without defilement. 
He goes along the train with his brass vessels ; a sudra, 
or low-caste man, stoops, and in his open hands placed 
together, and raised to the level of his mouth, receives 
the precious liquid. The vessel of the Brahmin is not 
touched, else he would be defiled. A Brahmin asks 
for water, and is served with it in the smaller vessels, 
from which he drinks, there being no defilement be- 
tween Brahmin and Brahmin. 

Bellary stands on one of the driest plateaux of the 
Presidency, and at the termination of railway communi- 
cation towards the west. It is a very large district, 
where we were hospitably received by Mr. Huntly 
Gordon, the collector. An extension through the cotton 
district of Dharwar by Hoobli to the seaport of Carwar, 
on the Arabian Sea, is contemplated. This district was 
heavily visited by famine, the effects of which are still 
visible. Crowds of people had come into the town to 
witness a grand religious procession, the animation of 
which might well have deceived a spectator into the 
belief that the reported sufferings from famine had 
been exaggerated. But a visit to some of the country 
villages dispelled that impression. In one which we 


examined, there are one hundred families, seventy of 
whom are landowners, and thirty are landless. When 
all are mingled together the difference in the condition 
of the two classes is not readily distinguished. On my 
request the headman of the village placed all the landed 
men on one side, and the landless on the other. This 
at once disclosed two distinct phases of humanity — the 
comparatively well-to-do landowner, clean and well 
fed, and the lackland " coolie," thin, eager-eyed, half 
starved. I questioned these as to their present means 
of living, which they said were most scant and difficult, 
as the landholders were straitened by the famine and 
employed no labour ; and the only thing they could do 
was to gather stalks of corn (large thick reeds from 
which the ears had been harvested) and carry it in 
bundles to the town to sell for fuel. What little they 
got from this was eked out by gathering and eating the 
seeds of weeds, which had been left to ripen after the 
regular crop had been removed. Poor creatures, they 
even take out the rafters of their wretched huts and sell 
them to buy food. The native officer, an intelligent man, 
in answer to my question whether this was a typical 
example of the agricultural villages in the district, said 
it was a favourable example, as the people here, being 
within a few miles of the principal town and station, had 
chances which more remote villages did not possess. 
There are 2,200 acres of fine land in this village, paying a 
rent to Government of £70 a year, more than a third of it 
being Inam, and therefore rent free. The ten largest ryots 
in ordinary years, and before the late famine, employed 


thirty labourers all the year ; but since the famine they 
have not been able to do so, and the labourers must shift 
as they best can. They were on the verge of starvation. 

Before commencing the examination of witnesses 
each day in regard to the famine, we have generally 
been able to arrange a visit to the country, starting in 
the early morning to avoid the heat of the sun. 
A man had that morning been found dead in the 
streets of starvation, and we had before us a land- 
holder of 30 acres who had been found selling the 
rafters of his house to buy bread for his children. 
He told us his story, which was simply this — that he 
had been so much reduced by the famine that he had 
first sold one of his bullocks, then the cart, and finalty 
was selling the roof of his house to get the means of 
buying food. He had borrowed a bullock and cart, and 
he and his wife had come twenty miles with his load, 
to raise 5s. to tide over a little longer, in the hope that 
they might live to pick their cotton crop two months 
hence ! We raised a little purse for them, and it is 
impossible to imagine the thankfulness of the poor 
souls thus rescued from starvation. 

Mr. Lewis, a missionary who has been thirteen 
years in this district, says that the small landholders, 
paying £1 each to Government, are a sober, quiet, well- 
conducted people, who in their way work hard. Before 
he came here he lived in Somerset and Devon, and 
comparing the condition of the people here, in good 
years, with that of the agricultural labourers of these 
counties, he thinks them more free from care and better 


fed, not so well lodged, but having less expense for 
clothes and education. Eating, gossiping, and sleeping 
are the happiness of their lives. Their religion, in his 
opinion, is a custom, and though very impressible they 
are very conservative of old customs. No man beyond 
the age of eighteen to twenty -four, or woman from 
fourteen to fifteen, is unmarried. Mr. Lewis finds a 
ready hearing among them, and is careful not to offend 
them by criticism of their objects of worship, while 
trying to teach them a purer religion by repeating a 
parable of our Lord, and speaking simply to them upon 
the lesson it unfolds. 

The railway station here is fortified, and there is a 
fort, on a rocky hill like Edinburgh Castle, within which 
all Europeans could take shelter in case of need. The 
place is garrisoned by two regiments and a battery of 
artillery, being in the close neighbourhood of the Nizam's 
dominions. There are fine roads in all directions ; and, 
for the English, once a week, polo and the band, and 
most nights an entertainment of some kind. 

The black soil very much resembles the prairies of 
Illinois. It is cultivated carelessly, much at present 
lying uncropped for want of means, and that which is 
cropped very foul, with weeds. The cotton crop, which 
is generally grown by advances from Bombay merchants, 
is short, but thick and regular, and tolerably good when 
fairly cleaned between the rows. 




The country continues much the same till we cross 
the Toongabudra river, when we enter the territory 
of the Nizam. In the doab between this river and 
the Kistna the land is good and well cultivated, 
and the flocks more numerous. That portion through 
which the railway passes north of the Kistna is thinly 
peopled and much of it waste. The native rulers seem 
to recognise the propriety of not encouraging population 
on poor land. In the few villages one sees the people seem 
to be in a more prosperous state, their houses and temples 
more substantial than those on our side of the border. 

At Shahabad we leave the main line and travel 120 
miles by the Nizam's railway to Hyderabad, passing 
through rather a poorer country, interspersed with 
granite boulders and rocky hills, some crowned with hill 
forts. The Nizam is still in his minority, and the 
country was governed by Sir Salar Jung and a co-regent. 
The total revenue is a little over three millions sterling 
from a population of nine millions, and an area of 80,000 
square miles. Within five miles of the capital we 
maintain a large European force of infantry, cavalry, 
and artillery, and a native force, the two including the 
"subsidiary force," paid for, under the Treaty of 1800, 
by the revenue of the "ceded districts;" and a "con- 
tingent " force which, by the Treaty of 1 863, is paid for 
out of the revenue of the " assigned districts " of 
Berar. The combined force is at the disposal of the 


British Government for preserving the internal tran- 
quillity of the Nizam's dominions, and for the purpose of 
a general defensive alliance. The ceded districts passed 
at the time entirely into the hands of the British ; the 
surplus revenue of the assigned districts of Berar, after 
payment of the " contingent/' is handed over to the 
Nizam. This arrangement will continue as long as the 
contingent is maintained, the assigned districts being 
held in trust for that object. Berar is the richest part 
of the territory of Hyderabad, and is managed by 
British officials under the Besident, Sir Bichard Meade, 
who is also Commissioner of Berar, and has been forty 
years in India, and only six months home during that 
long period of service. The Besidency is in the vicinity 
of the city of Hyderabad, and is a fine house in a great 
park, with all the officials of the mission lodged in 
houses within its walls. It contains also quarters for 
a regiment of soldiers as guard. 

The eastern side of the country, comprising one-third of 
the Nizam's territory, is irrigated by tanks, and produces 
rice abundantly, and the people live on rice. It yields 
two crops in the year, and pays a high rate of assess- 
ment to the Government, much higher than in any part 
of British India, and the people are generally prosperous. 
On the west side, which comprises two -thirds of the 
territory, the land is dry and comparatively poor, and 
the people live on grain. In Berar, where the finest 
quality of black cotton soil prevails, the people did well 
during the time of high prices of cotton from 1862 to 
1867. Since the fall in price, at the end of the civil 


war in America, they turned to oil seeds, which they 
now grow largely for export at Bombay. The ryots 
have lately received a thirty years' settlement, under 
which they may sell or let their land, or any portion of 
it. But any tenant who had not acquired " occupancy 
right" before the settlement cannot now do so. 

In former times it was the custom in this State to 
give large tracts of country to high officers during their 
lives ; but this was always subject to withdrawal at 
death, and the son did not succeed unless a new grant 
from the sovereign was issued. It was found that the 
cultivator is more secure of justice under a direct hold- 
ing from the sovereign through his officers, and the 
country is now all so held, with the exception of some 
large hereditary estates. Subdivision is not prohibited, 
and when carried too far may become a serious evil, 
but in the opinion of both the co-Regents, separately 
expressed to me, there is no remedy for it. There 
is one great distinction between our mode of assessment 
and theirs. They assess in proportion to the value of 
the crops cultivated, taking most largely from the more 
valuable crops of the richer land. 

A very promising coal-field, interstratified with iron, 
has been opened in the eastern part of the country. 
Specimens of both were shown to me by the engineer, 
who said that the iron had been pronounced, on exami- 
nation by Dr. Stenhouse, to be equal to the best Swedish. 
A railway, 220 miles in length, has been proposed and 
surveyed to open up the country, which would connect 
the capital with the navigable waters of the Gfodavery, 


and tap this coal-field at two-thirds of the distance, and 
afford an outlet for it at both ends. The nearest coal- 
field to Hyderabad by railway at present is 940 miles. 
The proposed line would open a coal supply within 150. 
But immense though this advantage would be to the 
Nizam, it would be still more important to us. Both the 
Bombay and Madras Presidencies at present draw their 
chief supply from England. 

A paper showing the great value of cheaper coal 
in India was issued by the Public Works Department 
in 1876. It shows how the working of coal in 
Bengal has provided employment, that its influence is 
felt as far as the Punjab and Rajpootana, and that 
by its use abundant crops are distributed, and cheap 
transport of surplus produce to the sea-board effected. 
" The development of Indian coal-fields, and the 
cheap distribution of coal, is," in the opinion of the 
Public Works Department of India, " one of the most 
important questions pressing on the attention of the 
Government, and no efforts should be spared to attain 
this object." Here is a favourable opportunity which 
the Nizam is anxious to adopt. He prefers to do so 
without incurring further obligation to the Indian 
Government, but, from some jealousy, is denied the 
privilege of raising the necessary capital in London on 
his own credit. One would have supposed that the 
Government of India, with its hands full of uncom- 
pleted works within its own territory, would have been 
eager to encourage an enterprise involving neither 
responsibility nor obligation, and which could not fail to 


be advantageous to the interests of the people of both 
States. The difficulty has now, 1883, been got over, and 
this railway is under construction. 

The city of Hyderabad is, in point of population, the 
fourth city in India, about 400,000. We rode through 
it on elephants, as the people were not very friendly to 
strangers, many of them going about with swords in 
their arms, and pistols in their belts. The streets in 
the afternoon were full of people, buying and selling, 
dressed in every variety of colour, and with much more 
liberality of clothing than is common in the lower 
country; for the city is nearly 2,000 feet above sea 
level. We extended our ride to a tank or lake which 
supplies the city with water, the wall of which is formed 
by arches of masonry laid on their sides, the arches 
pressing against the water. Here, entering a steam 
launch, we navigated the lake among its picturesque bays 
and granite islets, closing the day, in January, with what 
would be thought a beautiful summer evening in England. 

The Nizam in no instance, during the late famine, 
paid for relief work in grain, always in money, and there 
was no difficulty in purchasing grain. The normal 
condition of the ryot is to be in debt. It is the same in 
Persia, where the whole cultivation is dependent on 
irrigation. The people are all in debt, and every penny 
is exacted by the Government that can be squeezed out 
of them. But they have abundance of food, and are 
strong and hardy. The Hindu too often spends all he 
gets, and will not make provision for a future that must 
therefore take care of itself. 


The revenue of the Nizam, with the alienated lands, 
and the surplus from Berar, is upwards of £3,000,000, 
one-tenth of which was remitted during the famine. 
Berar is the richest part of the Hyderabad territory. 
It is at present administered by the English Commis- 
sioner ; but will probably be returned to the Nizam 
when the young prince reaches his majority. The price of 
a sheep in Hyderabad was then 3s. ; of a milk goat, 6s. ; 
rice Id. per lb. ; wheat, f d. ; millet, id. Most of the nobles 
and upper class are as unlearned as the English of the 
same class were in the fifteenth century, while the people 
are said to be superstitious, bigoted, and unscrupulous. 

I breakfasted with Sir Salar Jung, who took me 
through his palace and stables. He had some famous 
Arab blood in his stud, which was also otherwise good. 
Among his numerous reception rooms was a suite pre- 
pared specially for the Prince of Wales, who was, however, 
unable to visit Hyderabad when in India. I had also an 
interview with the co-Regent, who is a member of the 
reigning family, a very civil old gentleman, with a gold 
belt, and a blaze of diamonds at its buckle. In all his 
experience there had been only one such famine in the 
land as that of 1877-8. Subdivision of their land by 
the cultivators might certainly proceed too far, but in 
the opinion of the co-Regent there was no remedy. " It 
is the custom of the people to subdivide among the sons 
of the family, and who can interfere with that ? " 




We again entered the Bombay Presidency at Shola- 
pore on the 9th of February. It is a considerable place, 
with a population of 53,000, and the seat of a cotton 
factory on the joint-stock principle, with a capital of 
£80,000, and employing GOO people. The factory is 
fitted with the newest machinery from Manchester, and 
has been established two years. The only drawback to 
its success is the price of coal, which is six times higher 
than in England. The hours of labour are not restricted, 
generally eleven daily, the people working every day, 
and resting each alternate Sunday. They manufacture 
from Indian cotton, grown in this and neighbouring 
districts, the coarser goods suited to the Indian market. 
The wages in comparison with Lancashire are as nearly 
as possible in the proportion of one month's work here 
for one week there. The Lancashire machinist who 
superintends the working says that under such circum- 
stances Manchester cannot compete with them in Indian 
goods. Young men, women, and children, seem all 
very deft at the work, and every part of it appears to be 
conducted much as the same work is at home. It will 
be a great matter if this business proves financially suc- 
cessful, as there is no class which our rule has pressed 
harder upon than the native weaver and artisan. 

On the morning of the 10th we drove to Ekrook 
Tank, a work planned by Colonel Fyfe, and opened in 
1871. It is calculated to irrigate for the whole year 


upwards of 15,000 acres, and commands nearly 18,000. 
As yet only one-tenth of this takes the water. The 
advantages of its application, when combined with 
ample manuring, are most satisfactorily shown on the 
land of a so wear, or native banker, who manures his 
land with a mixture of night soil and street sweepings, 
at the rate of forty tons an acre, which he buys at 
Is. Od. a ton in the town, and carts it. The land is 
planted with sugar-cane, kept under constant irrigation, 
and the produce which I saw being reaped, squeezed and 
boiled, yields sugar worth £30 an acre, at a cost of £5 
for the manure, £1 for the water, and 10s. for the land 
— which leaves a large margin for labour and profit. 
Comparing this with the management of the indolent 
cultivator, who takes everything he can out of the land 
at the least cost of labour, and with no attempt to im- 
prove or maintain its fertility, it may be doubted whether 
the system of dandling and protecting him is good 
either for the country or himself. The law of this 
Presidency now makes him a ward under the collector if 
he gets into difficulties ; and the collector, already over- 
whelmed with work, instead of allowing him to be 
legally sold up when his means and credit are gone, may 
interpose and try to make a profit for him out of the 
land from which he could draw no profit himself ! As 
this may be the position of thousands at the same 
time, the notion that the collector can do this success- 
fully seems absurd. 

On the black soil when the rains set in, the land be- 
comes so sticky that wheel conveyance, except on hard 


roads, is nearly impracticable. During famine, even 
though the roads or grounds be practicable, there may 
be no oxen to be got. This happened at Kaludgi, 
sixty miles from this station, where 5,000 men left 
the public works, and themselves carried corn as 
a speculation, buying it from the merchants at 
the railway, and selling it successfully at Kaludgi 
for their own profit. This was successfully carried 
on for some time when no other transport could be 

We arrived at Ahmednuggur on the morning of the 
12th of February, after being on the railway all the 
night. As the morning broke we were passing over a 
new line made during the famine, which gives a shorter 
route to Calcutta, and thus obviates the descent and ascent 
of the Ghats. The country is bare, and not much of it 
cultivated, except the rich black soil in the hollows. 
The rivers Beema and Seema traverse the country, which 
is sparsely inhabited (116 to the square mile), and there 
are vast tracts of uncultivated land. We are now in the 
Deccan, the country of the marauding Mahrattas in Sir 
Arthur Wellesley's time, and of their descendants, the 
not over-quiet cultivators, whose alleged oppression by 
their bankers recently led to violence and bloodshed. 
This city was captured by Sir Arthur in 1803, and the 
memory of the officers who fell at the breach is kept 
green on a monument on the old wall near the gate, on 
which are the names of Major McKenzie and Captain 
Grant of the Boss-shire Highlanders, and Captain Plen- 
derleath of the Native Infantry. 


During the day we were engaged in taking evidence, 
and towards evening we traversed the city, examining 
the samples of corn exhibited in the market, where I 
found the price of wheat nearly as high as ours, this 
year, at home. The natives everywhere were most 
civil, the collector, Mr. Stewart, and the judge, now 
Sir William Wedderburn, being both much respected. 
I was invited by the municipality to open their new 
water- works, which gave me an opportunity of compli- 
menting them on this most useful improvement, and on 
the generally happy appearance of the townspeople who 
thronged the streets. 

Comparing the system here with that adopted by the 
Dutch in Java, which Sir William had visited, there was 
general prosperity in that island. The secret of this lay 
in the Dutch having recognised all that was good in the 
native management. The people have thus been taken 
along with the Government in everything, and both prosper 
together. But here the financial state of the cultivators 
may be judged of by the following proportion of solvent 
and indebted landowners in a single talook. Out of 970 
only 139 are in full possession of their land; of 725 
the whole produce goes to the sowcar, and in the case of 
106 their land is uncropped for want of means. The 
Government assessment is blamed for this state of affairs, 
but the following figures seem to show that if the people 
paid no rent for the land, their position would be little 
affected. In ten cases in which the crops were sold by 
auction the average price realised was twenty times the 
amount of the Government demand. The Hindu law of 


Menu lays down the right of the State, in time of peace, 
as one-sixth the produce of good dry land. It is not, 
indeed, a question of rent, but of the crushing advantage 
which the law gives the creditor over the cultivator. 
The land of a native chief in this neighbourhood was 
lately settled at a rate 125 per cent, higher than the 
Government land, and the people were quite satisfied, 
because the sowcar's power is restricted. The answers 
to a series of questions put to the general body of 
sowcars here state that the interest they charge varies 
with the credit of the borrower. Where sufficient 
security is lodged money may be profitably lent at six 
per cent, per annum. But the rates required from the 
cultivators are 12, 24, and 36 per cent., according to the 
security. Out of 100 rupees borrowed, 50 per cent, is 
for expenses of cultivation, 15 for marriages, and 35 for 
household expenses. In the last ten years the profits 
made by the money-lenders have been more than ab- 
sorbed by their losses. The civil courts are declared 
by all parties to be very expensive and dilatory, the costs 
amounting to 25 per cent, of the claim, comprising ten 
per cent, for stamps, eight for vakils or pleaders, and 
seven for miscellaneous expenses. - The proportion for 
stamps is excessive, and is believed to yield a large 
revenue to the Government beyond paying all the 
expense of the courts. Out of one hundred decrees 
not more than twenty are executed. Many years' 
saleable produce, they say, would not liquidate the 
total amount of the village debt, and the sowcars 
would willingly compromise for half. They allege 


that during the famine they supported 50 per cent, of 
the ryots. 

The cause of these financial difficulties may be traced 
to several sources. There has been a collapse from the 
temporary prosperity produced by the high prices of 
cotton during the war in the American cotton States. 
This has been followed by seasons of scarcity and drought 
upon a class of soil which, being naturally retentive of 
moisture, has not demanded the same arrangements for 
artificial irrigation as have been provided in other parts 
of India. The people themselves are less continuously 
industrious, and their exhaustive system of husbandry, 
with, at the same time, an increasing and home-staying 
population, must, with each new generation, leave a 
smaller proportion for each individual. The general 
body of the community is thus becoming poorer, and 
their dependence on the chance of seasons greater. All 
this diminishes the value of the security which the 
cultivator has to offer to his banker, who, in his turn, 
finds it necessary to demand a higher rate of interest. 
The subject is one of vital importance, and will receive 
further elucidation as we proceed. 

Five-sixths of the cultivators here are embarrassed 
by debt, the total amount of which is estimated as equal 
to seven and a half years' rental of their land. The 
Government take from them 130,000 rupees as rent, and 
the sowcars 240,000 as interest, reckoned at an average 
rate of 24 per cent. About 700,000 acres in this district 
are lying uncultivated from want of means and of 
bullocks to plough. Good black soil is let at Is. 9d. an 


acre, a rate at which money might easily be made if the 
cultivators had any capital. Wells are everywhere pre- 
ferred to canal irrigation on equal terms of cost. 

There is a Government farm at Kandeish under the 
management of Mr. Stormont, 1,100 acres in extent, 
500 of which are under the plough, and 100 in experi- 
mental plantations. One-third of the cultivated area is 
deep black soil. The chief points aimed at are the pro- 
duction and distribution of better and cleaner seed to 
the cultivator, experiments on the effect of manures, 
introduction of improved implements and of new plants, 
and the improvement of native breeds of cattle by cross- 
ing with indigenous and European animals. There are 
two leading kinds of Indian wheat grown here — yellow, of 
very good quality, weighing 64 lbs. a bushel, and with 
irrigation and manure yielding 18 bushels an acre; and 
white wheat, weighing 58 lbs., which is better suited 
to dry cultivation. Irrigation on black soil, without 
manure, Mr. Stormont considers injurious. An intelli- 
gent native farmer will not irrigate this soil more than 
once in three years, that being its turn for manure. The 
native plough goes deeper than the English with the 
same power applied, and it is better suited to the land 
and the working cattle, and to the means of the cultivator. 
As all begin to sow the land on the same day, when the 
village priest gives the signal, a joint share in improved 
implements will not work. The most promising branch 
of this experimental farm is that which enables the 
manager to distribute, to the headmen of villages, bulls 
of an improved breed. Of the new trees, the Ccesalpinia 


cori aria, which produces pods yielding tannin, is being 
rapidly spread ; and the Inga dulcis, which grows rapidly 
for hedges, is useful for ploughs and fuel, and is capable 
of being coppiced. Near the sea-coast the carob tree, 
which in the Mediterranean islands and coasts is so pro- 
ductive of cattle food, is being tried. The natives of 
Kandeish are clever agriculturists, but have no capital, 
and depend on the sowcar. The labourers on the 
experimental farm are so well employed that they will 
not work much more than half time, as they can earn 
fourpence -halfpenny by a short day's work, and that 
suffices them. 

I visited the American mission schools here, with 
Dr. Fairbank the head of the mission, where the 
children are taught in their own language; and also a 
normal school for the preparation of native teachers; and 
had an interview with an American clergyman and his 
wife, the latter of whom conducts a woman's mission of 
native women converts, or children of converts, who visit 
the women of the city and villages, and find a ready 
welcome. The converts are chiefly among the lower 
castes, but the mission is glad to get the poor and lowly, 
for whom few care, but who with their children are 
educated, and so become really superior to the castes who 
formerly looked down upon them. I had a long con- 
versation with these good American people, modest, but 
earnest and self-reliant, carrying on a noble work w T ith 
little to cheer them beyond the consciousness of good 
and faithful service. Other missions here are also 
active. An English orphanage has been opened, where 


200 orphans from the famine are being tenderly cared 
for and educated. 

We arrived at Poona on the 14th of February. It 
is a charming city, .2,000 feet above sea-level, the resort 
of the principal officials of the Presidency of Bombay 
from July to October, during tbe rains. The weather in 
the intervals is then delicious, the air cool and the sky 
cloudless. This lasts for two or three days at a time, 
then down come torrents of rain which lay the dust and 
cool the air, and cover the land with verdure. There is 
a large army corps of all branches stationed here, to 
which is added, during the season, the Governor and his 
staff and council. A river flows by the city, and the 
public gardens on its banks, with the military bands, 
are the place of evening resort. There is a drive under 
an avenue of fine mango trees, which form a complete 
over-arching shade, and alongside of it a " lady's mile." 
The houses of Europeans are numerous and handsome. 
The city itself has a population of 120,000. 

Within a few miles there is a mountain range to 
which picnics are made, one pretty point being Lake Fyfe, 
a vast artificial reservoir, which, besides supplying water 
to the city and suburbs, and the cantonments and powder 
mills, is capable of irrigating 100,000 acres. Its effect on 
the market gardens within a radius of some miles around 
the city is shown by the most luxuriant crops of every 
kind, outside of which the country at this season is 
barren. The canal is carried for sixty-four miles, and 
gradually for all that distance along the flat, in which 
the railway also runs, its refreshing and vivifying in- 


fluences are spreading with an annual increase. The 
bund or embankment, placed at the gap through which 
the outfall of the hills passes, is a wall of masonry, 
a mile long and a hundred feet high, an engineering 
work which is highly creditable to the skill of its con- 
structor, Colonel Fyfe. 

We are now in the capital of the Deccan, in a dry 
region where the crops often fail, and whence in former 
times, prompted perhaps by necessity, the Mahrattas, 
after reaping their own scanty harvests in November, 
used to start out on predatory expeditions all over 
Southern India to plunder the more industrious races of 
the plains, returning in the spring to spend the fruits of 
their rapine at their leisure. Our rule has put an end 
to this with a strong hand, but without substituting so 
easy a method of remedying the natural poverty of their 
position. Hence arise periodical distress and a large 
measure of discontent, manifesting itself of late years in 
violent attacks on the money-lenders, and in bands of 
robbers — dacoits — quite capable of wider extension if 
favourable circumstances should occur. The European 
officers are kept in a state of uneasy suspicion, watched 
by a society of natives who act as the people's protectors, 
the publicity of whose proceedings, through their dis- 
cussions and newspapers, is really a safeguard to the 

There are two hundred members of this society, the 
leader of which was examined by us. He stated that 
the society had been chosen by 20,000 landholders, to 
state their views to the Commission, and among that 


number were included Deccan and Treaty sirdars 
of large property, as well as small landholders and 
labourers ; so that all classes interested in land in 
the Deccan were represented. He is a pleader in 
the courts, a very sharp, intelligent old man, who, 
so long as he kept to the subject he thoroughly under- 
stood, was most interesting and instructive. He strongly 
advocated the native Punchayet Courts, and showed 
that, if they were substituted for small cause courts, five- 
sixths of the business of the civil courts would disappear. 
He argued that suits respecting land should go to the 
civil courts ; all others to Punchayets. For such cases 
no long scientific process of investigation is required. 
One-sixth only of the present litigation would remain 
for the superior courts, in which alone pleaders would 
appear — the parties stating their own cases, at a mini- 
mum of cost, in the Punchaj^ets. The number of cases 
for the whole Presidency appears great, but, when 
divided among the 22,500 villages in it, would give but 
six or seven cases for each. The Punchayets should not 
be, however, in every village, where personal interest 
might be evoked, but at central stations. Both so wear 
and ryot would prefer the Punchayet, which should 
have the power of obtaining the attendance of witnesses. 
The well-meant attempt to restrain the accumulation 
of interest, which was introduced in 1860, by fixing a 
limitation of three years to current accounts, had, he 
said, greatly increased litigation, and had proved injuri- 
ous to the borrower, in consequence of the necessity 
imposed on the lender to renew the bond, which thereby 


led to the introduction of compound interest. For the 
creditor, to prevent his claim being barred by time, not 
in order to recover the debt, must file a suit every third 
year, the cost of which thus falls on the debtor four 
times in twelve years instead of once. The bond at 
each time is renewed with added interest. The debt 
thus assumes four new forms during a period of twelve 
years, and, with interest at 33 per cent., doubles itself 
every third year. Five pounds borrowed thus, with 
compound interest, in twelve years become eighty, if 
no part of the principal has been paid. Under the old 
system the same sum, at simple interest, would in twelve 
years be only twenty-five. The ruinous effects of this 
must be obvious. Nor does it end here, for the costs of 
the decree are each time added. Crores of rupees are 
thus thrown away in the civil courts, inimical feelings 
between parties are increased, and documents are fabri- 
cated to the ruin of each other. It is believed that 
hardly a man goes to a court and returns without some 
falsehood. The judges under such circumstances find it 
difficult to administer justice, and the litigants, occupied 
in legal disputes, neglect their farms. The consequence 
had been an enormous increase of litigation, the suits 
filed in Bombay, in 1860, having risen from 91,000 to 
quite double that number annually since that time. 
There was no complaint from the ryot or the country to 
lead to this legislation, from which all parties were 
most desirous to revert to the former twelve years' 
period, with the safeguard of a pass-book to be provided 
and filled up by the money-lender, and kept by the 


borrower, without proof of which having been done 
any action at law should fail. The charges under the 
new Stamp Act were much complained of, the smallest 
cases paying in proportion more than great ones, and the 
largest share of this revenue being thus taken from the 
most necessitous class. If, as is generally believed, the 
revenue exacted for court fees yields a large surplus to 
the State after paying all the expenses of the judiciary 
establishment, no time should be lost in removing this 
just cause of complaint. 

A native landowner who holds inam, or rent-free, 
land, with nearly 200 tenants, told us that the rent paid 
to him was about one-sixth of the gross produce. His 
people hold from three to twelve acres each, on an annual 
lease, under which he admitted they may be turned out, 
or have their rent raised, as he may find possible and 
convenient. But he and his society claim that Govern- 
ment should grant a thirty years' lease, and limit its 
demand to one- sixth of the surplus after deducting all 
expenses of cultivation. 

Great dissatisfaction was expressed at the absence of 
any results from the Deccan Riots Commission, especially 
in regard to the Limitation Act. The report, they said, 
had dispelled the charge that the people were suffering 
as a consequence of their own extravagance. The poverty 
is undoubted. Seventy-five per cent, of the cultivators, 
on the poorer class of land, are hopelessly indebted. 
A man with twenty acres cannot therefore, in most 
cases, cultivate over five. Things are tending gradually 
to abolition of credit, and a change in condition from 


ryots to labourers. In Dharwar, one-fourth of the land 
has in this way passed into the hands of money-lenders, 
non- cultivators, who sublet to tenant-labourers, from 
whom they exact half the crop, and also the Govern- 
ment assessment. The average amount of this is 
one shilling an acre, and, as there are ten lacs of 
outstanding arrears in the Poona division at present, 
two million acres are in risk of passing from 
the ryots into the hands of Government. In that 
case the Government might re-issue this land with- 
out conferring right of mortgage, but with perma- 
nency of possession so long as the rent was paid. 
Many officers of experience advocate this course as 
the one best suited to the natives of India. 

There has been a plague of rats all over this part of 
the country, which have made fearful havoc of the crop, 
and reduced by two-thirds what would otherwise have 
been a fair crop. In certain seasons they breed and 
spread with immense rapidity, and with the return of 
heavy rain disappear as quickly. Following a year of 
famine, this has greatly aggravated the sufferings of the 
Mahratta people, who are the most improvident in 

The Deccan consists entirely of trap soils, which 
divide themselves into broad distinctive features ; first, 
the black, which is the best in quality, and is let by 
the Government at 2s. to 3s. an acre ; second, the red, 
at 2s. to 2s. 6d. ; and third, a shallow, grey, dusty, hot, 
sandy soil, which is charged at 6d. to 9d. an acre. 
The two best form two-fifths of the whole, the least 


productive being the most extensive. The deep black soil 
holds moisture best, and for a long time, and will draw 
it from the atmosphere, even though rain does not fall. 
Certain parts of the Deccan are more subject to droughts 
than others. At the crest of the Ghats there may be 
a rainfall of 300 inches, and not one-fourth of it ten 
miles eastward. Droughts come with comparative 
frequency, but severe famine only once or twice in a 

The Forest Department is very active in this part of 
the country, and contemplates dealing with one-seventh 
of its area, much of which is already heavily timbered. 
This is three times the proportion of woods to cultivated 
land in England. They are now enclosing great 
breadths, on which seeds of all kinds of forest trees, 
suited to the climate, are sown broadcast during the 
rains. This enclosure shuts out the people from much 
of their grazing land, and from getting timber for fuel 
and other purposes to which they and their fathers had 
long been accustomed without stint. Great discontent 
is thereby aroused, which will most likely, in the opinion 
of the police, lead to crime, and may become a source of 
danger. To a certain degree, the preservation of forests 
is most desirable, but their extension by the forest- 
officers in a reckless manner, and with too high a hand, 
should be most carefully guarded against. 

The all-important subject of improved agriculture was 
constantly in the mind of the Governor, Sir Richard 
Temple. He had projected a plan of agricultural 
education for Western India, which was in course of pre- 


paration, and in his hands could not fail to be carried 
out with effect. 

Whilst at Poona we made several excursions into the 
country, the last being eighteen miles through the tract 
watered by the canal from Lake Fyfe There were large 
breadths of bearded wheat, all in ear on the 19th of 
February, and showing the promise of an average 
English crop, shorter in straw but thick on the ground. 
There was a marked distinction in parts recently 
manured, which were taller and thicker, as if they had 
been treated with nitrate of soda. The charge for 
irrigation is 4s. an acre. Two crops are grown in the 
year, great millet for the rain crop, and wheat for the 
winter crop. Manure is applied as often as it can be 
had. Large eight-bullock ploughs were working on the 
fallow land in preparation for the rain-crop, grinding 
down the clods into fine mould. They were moving the 
soil to a depth of ten inches, managed by two men, one 
holding the plough, the other guiding the bullocks, which 
were yoked two and two ahead of each other. The 
plough is a powerful wooden wedge, shod and pointed 
with iron, which bores into and rends the hard but 
friable earth, bursting and breaking it in large lumps, 
which are partly crumbled by the friction of the wedge, 
and partly broken into mould by the feet of the cattle. 
The two men by voice and action urge them to their 
work, shouting to each by name, either with an endearing 
epithet or the reverse, as encouragement or intimidation 
may appear expedient. The cattle were fine large white 
animals, and pulled very honestly. 


Leaving our kind and hospitable friend at Poona, the 
Commissioner, Mr. Robertson, after an hour and a half 
we reached the edge of the Ghats, whence we descend 
2,000 feet through fine scenery, the mountains rising all 
round as the railway winds its way by a gradual fall 
into the low country, through deep-wooded ravines 
which, in the rains, sparkle with numerous waterfalls 
amidst the verdure. We push on through Bombay to 
Guzerat, the day beginning to dawn as we neared Surat, 
where the country is rich and productive. We cross the 
Taptee river, here navigable to the sea, and in two hours 
more we come to the splendid river Nerbudda, of great 
width, a strong tide running up from the sea. A new 
railway bridge of iron is being constructed, to rest on 
tubes of large diameter, as the present bridge was found 
not sufficiently firm to withstand the rush, and occasional 
shock, of floating trees in time of flood. Thousands of 
people were at work, men and women, in hoisting and 
placing the enormous tubes, and in all the other engi- 
neering operations connected with this stupendous work, 
which is on a scale of magnitude beyond the conception 
of native rule. The cost is justified by the fact that 
this line will connect Bombay with Delhi and Northern 
India, and independently of its own traffic will (or would 
but for the unfortunate break of gauge) provide a direct 
outlet to Bombay for the produce of that extensive and 
fertile region. For many miles we had been passing 
through the rich black cotton soil of Surat and Broach, 
the latter city having a fine position on the north branch 
of the Nerbudda. 


At Baroda the country alters; the soil is a reddish 
loam clothed with splendid trees, which look all the 
richer after the comparatively naked black soil country. 
The flag of the Besident's house (where the former 
Gruickwar attempted to poison Colonel Phayre) is seen 
amidst rich park-like scenery. Near Nariad there is 
very fine cultivation from wells, tobacco and garden 
crops beautifully farmed, and every sign of prosperity 
among the people. Their holdings are separated by low 
hedges ; every one has his ivell, and, where this is attainable 
and the water good, I believe no other irrigation in India 
can compare toith it. Each man can use it when and how 
he pleases, and as he must keep bullocks for the labour 
of his land, and he and his family on these small hold- 
ings do most of the work, they hardly feel the cost of 
lifting the water. Their villages are generally tile- 
roofed, the people are better clad, and their bullocks are 
stronger and bigger than I have yet seen. All this is 
the result of " well " irrigation on a better soil, with a 
climate seldom so extreme in drought as to cause severe 
scarcity, never famine. The head men engage with the 
Government for the rent of the village, and allot to each 
cultivator his share of the payment. 

At Memadabad I visited the court, the Treasurv, 
and the hospital. The work of collecting the revenue 
is done by the native officials. That morning they had 
sent off by rail to Bombay 100,000 rupees. An armed 
guard is kept at the Treasury room. In the hospital 
there were only two cases — one a poor little boy whose 
arm had been broken by the stroke of a stick from a 


ryot, into whose crop the boy had allowed his cow to 
stray ; and the other an elderly man who, on interposing 
to protect the boy, was brntally attacked by the same 
fellow with his weeding hook, and desperately wounded 
and cut. The man had been arrested, and was awaiting 

In the early dawn next morning we drove to Kaira, 
a place of 12,000 inhabitants, along a fine road with 
sheltering trees. The town stands on the high bank of 
a river. From the top of the collector's house there is 
an extensive view over a rich, well-timbered country. 
There are many monkeys, some very large, and though 
they injure the crops, no one molests them. This care 
of life in regard to the lower creation, is a principle of 
Hindu religion perhaps more strictly observed than that 
of care of their fellow creatures, outside the circle of 
their own family connection. Within that circle they 
are wonderfully kind. Hindus of high caste never take 
life. Some are strict vegetarians, and in order to pre- 
serve life will frighten away fish from parts of a river 
where they have reason to expect English officers to 
come in quest of them. Even the much-abused money- 
lender refuses all advances to fishermen. On one occa- 
sion I came upon an extensive enclosed park with shelter 
sheds, maintained by a native banker, into which horses, 
no longer fit for use, were charitably received and fed, 
that they might wear out their lives in quietness. And 
yet female infanticide is undoubtedly too common, 64 
females to 100 males being not an unusual proportion 
in the population. A native judge explained this to me 


by the great desire among the lower class to intermarry 
with the higher, a lower man being ready to pay a 
needy man of the higher order a large sum of money to 
induce the son of the higher rank to marry his daughter. 
But when the lower man has no money, as is too often 
the case, the female infant is apt to be neglected and 
allowed to die. 

A growing feeling of dissatisfaction with English 
rule, which I had met with from the same reason in 
other quarters, found expression in this district. Before 
the mutiny, and under the old East India Company, the 
people had learned by experience that our practice was 
to do away with all the cesses and duties with which 
native governments formerly harassed their people. 
But since that time our course has been constantly to 
add some new tax. They do not acknowledge the 
advantage of our great civilising works, but they do feel 
their cost. The needful roads and works which were 
formerly carried out by the collector and his staff, at 
moderate cost out of the revenue, are now committed to 
engineers with expensive departments, and a vastly 
increased annual outlay. Disaffection is aroused, we are 
hated by the Mussulmans, and disliked by the Hindus. 
This is not likely at present to take tangible form, as 
there is no head under whom the various dissatisfied 
persons would unite. But a crusade is being preached 
here against the infidel Government by the Mahomme- 
dans, and on all sides there is a readiness to blame it on 
every occasion. There was lately a tumult at Surat, 
during which the civil authorities had to take shelter in 


a public building from tbe violence of the people, and 
which might have led to direful results but for the sharp 
interposition of troops. It is singularly illustrative of 
our rule that, though the people for six generations 
have known no other, we are still strangers among 
them. Our representatives come and go, now faster than 
ever, and we and they look on each other with distrust. 

Ahmedabad, a city of 120,000 people, was formerly 
the seat of the kings of Gruzerat. It is placed on a river 
in a finely cultivated and beautifully timbered country ; 
the founder Ahmed having left a memorial of his taste 
in an extremely elegantly proportioned small mosque 
with two minarets, the stone and marble carving of 
which vie with the exquisite work at Agra. A neigh- 
bouring modern Jine temple, built thirty years ago, 
somewhat in Hindu fashion, only less ugly, cannot com- 
pare with this in beauty. 

On this line of railway 1,500 people are employed, 
of whom little more than fifteen are Europeans. The 
native guards and other employes are most reliable, 
sober men. In ten years not one has been dismissed for 
drunkenness. During the four monsoon months, when 
traffic of all kinds diminishes on account of the rains, 
the manager gives a large proportion of the men their 
leave for that period, to which they make no objection, 
as their mode of living is simple and cheap, and 
they have abundance saved to enable them to take a 
holiday with their relations. They return when the 
rains cease, the railway company being richer by hav- 
ing saved their wages in the idle time, and the men 


having had their holiday. Englishmen in the same 
position would have saved nothing, and could not afford 
a holiday. 

On our return we halted at Surat, another ancient 
city, with a population of 107,000. It stands on the 
navigable river Taptee, within twelve miles of the sea, 
and is the earliest seat of our Indian possession. The 
Dutch preceded us, but we rendered such useful help to 
the Mohammedan monarch that the Dutch were ousted, 
and the " Company " put in in their stead. Within the 
city is an ancient Dutch burying-ground with grand 
tombs, now crumbling to pieces. Outside the city walls 
is the English burying-place, where our earliest repre- 
sentatives, who died here, have been buried in tombs of 
great magnificence. The principal one, or rather one 
enfolding the other, is in memory of two brothers 
Oxen den, who more than a hundred and fifty years ago 
seem in succession to have held the chief posts. There 
is another to an English captain who commanded " the 
Mogul's Castle and fleet " in 1658, and many others on 
a grand scale, indicating the great importance attached 
to Surat at that time. 

This city, seated on its navigable river, in the midst 
of a rich country, reminded me of the site of Bordeaux 
on the Garonne. But here the river is silting up, and 
vessels that formerly came with their cargoes to the 
quays can come no longer. The roads even in the 
neighbourhood of the town are very bad, and there is an 
evidence of decay in the unrepaired ruins of houses, and 
the slipping and undermining of the river banks and 


quays. The most substantial of the old works are the 
broad stone stairs down which the people go to wash 
their clothes in the river, but these are the work of the 
old rulers, matters of such everyday usefulness being too 
seldom thought of by us. 

In this neighbourhood a certain village, which 
claimed to pay not more than 1,000 rupees as its fixed 
permanent assessment, on the ground of a sunnud of a 
former ruler who had fixed it at that term for ever, 
was visited by the collector, who, on inquiry, thought 
himself entitled to disregard the alleged sunnud, and 
to put the assessment up to 4,000 rupees. The village 
appealed to the courts, and a decision was given in its 
favour, against which the collector appealed to a higher 
court, and was again defeated. Upon this, Government, 
being beaten in its contention, passed a resolution that 
such cases in future should not be tried by the judicial 
court, but by the revenue officer ! 

We visited a village of 1,400 acres, the Government 
rent of which was £280, and the debt due to their 
bankers by the cultivators £6,000. It is all fine arable 
land, and yet the cultivator, paying only 4s. an acre, 
with the sun, the rain, the double crop for next to 
nothing, is deeply embarrassed. There is something 
wrong, for the crops were good and the land reasonably 
well cultivated. It is due partly to the right given to 
the ryots to mortgage the public land, and partly to the 
improvidence of the people, who vie with each other in 
feasts and expenses at deaths and marriages, there being 
moreover no more common cause of dispute than the 


right of precedence of their bullocks and themselves at 
village festivals. 

The native judges in the small cause courts, by 
whom four-fifths of all law cases are decided, guide them- 
selves on the case as placed before them by the pleaders. 
They do their best to arrive at a fair decision upon the 
statement before them, but do not think it their duty 
to take trouble to see that an ignorant or uneducated 
man has his case all told. Two moonsiffs whom I 
examined were evidently afraid of the additional trouble 
which might be thrown upon them if pleaders were not 
allowed in the small cause courts. But pleaders are 
distrusted by the ryots, and a clever pleader may get 
too much of his own way with an easy moonsiff. I see 
no reason why the moonsiff should not, with the parties 
before him, examine the case thoroughly, without 
pleaders, and be held responsible for giving just judg- 
ment after careful investigation. The climate and the 
Indian disposition favour all kinds of easy workmanship, 
but the immensely higher rate of pay which the moonsiff 
gets, compared with anything else he could earn, would 
warrant Government in demanding from him a thorough 
examination without the help of pleaders, the best of 
whom are generally secured by the wealthiest litigant. 

Continuing our journey southwards, the land is an 
alluvial plain sparsely inhabited, stretching from the 
mountains to the sea, seemingly capable of great im- 
provement. Before reaching Bulsar we cross two tidal 
rivers navigable for small craft, which carry fuel from 
the jungles to Bombay. At Daman there is a small 


Portuguese settlement still extant, the principal use of 
which now is as a refuge for the distressed, fleeing from 
the law in British territory. The flat country is now 
rapidly narrowed by the nearer approach of the moun- 
tains to the sea, and many " doons " or small rounded 
hills (odd that they should have the same name in India 
and at home) stand out of the plain and gradually break 
it into height and hollow. As we approach Bassein the 
country narrows more and more, a strip not two miles 
wide from hill to sea, all the good patches of which are 
carefully laid into little squares to hold the water on the 
rice, which is nearly the only crop grown here. Bivers 
up which a rapid tide is flowing are crossed on bridges 
of immense length, and the conical hills covered with 
trees and jungle are very picturesque. Many sailing 
boats are plying about these creeks and rivers, and 
stake nets set quite across some of the branches of the 
stream catch all that comes. Fine tall full-leaved trees 
and splendid palms clothe the drier grounds which rise 
above the level of rice cultivation, and small fields of 
thick sugar-cane are fenced with a close thatch around 
them against the wild and tame animals which evidently 
frequent this quarter. 

As we cross one of the longest bridges, Bassein rises on 
the promontory seawards, an ancient Portuguese walled 
town, now deserted, with churches and streets, the seat of 
early commerce, taken from them by the Mahrattas two 
centuries ago, and afterwards by these abandoned. The 
walls of the town remain, and the spires and towers, but 
all is roofless, and has been so for more than a hundred 


years. There is a rich country in its neighbourhood, 
famous for vegetables and plantains which are daily 
conveyed by boats to the market at Bombay. The 
scenery here is lovely, resembling the Kyles of Bute 
without its rain, with white-sailed trading craft plying 
up the wide inlet which here separates the island from 
the mainland. It narrows to a slender stream where 
road and rail cross it on the outlet to the east. 

In a few miles more we reach Bombay, which, take 
it all in all, is the most picturesque city in India. 
Viewed from Government House, on the sea-point of 
Malabar Hill, I have seen nothing finer. Hospitably 
lodged by the Governor in charming rooms in a bunga- 
low above the battery, I joined him at sunrise on the 
verandah. It had been blowing hard all night, the wind 
beating through the open Venetians, and waving the 
wide musquito curtains about my bed. The wind had 
fallen in the morning to a light breeze, but a long swell 
was still running up the beach and round the point into 
the bay. There a large fleet of fishing boats had run 
for shelter on the previous evening, and now in the first 
daybreak they .were all moving outwards. Across the 
bay is Colabar Point with the lighthouse, and further 
landward the fine group of buildings forming the 
Government offices ; still further the city itself, and the 
masts of the large fleet of ships always lying in the 
roadstead, Beyond are seen the islands in the inner 
harbour, backed by the high mountains of most pictur- 
esque shape, on which the full fury of the south-west 
monsoon bursts. Beyond all the sun was rising in a 


cloudless sky, touching every point with light, and 
brightening up the white sails of the fishing boats as 
in slow succession they rounded the point, and breasted 
the long swell below us. After spending some days on 
the business of the Commission, including a lengthened 
examination of the Governor, I bade adieu to Sir Richard 
Temple, and to India, with a most grateful remem- 
brance of the kind and friendly hospitality which I 
experienced in every part of it. 



Indian famines are caused by drought, sometimes 
aggravated by war or other pressure, and their severity 
may be measured by the scarcity and high price of food- 
grain, and the consequent mortality among the people 
affected. The greatest sufferers are the landless class, who 
live by wages, and the village artisans, who are dependent 
on employment by the cultivator. The remedies adopted 
will appear from the measures heretofore taken hy 
Government and private persons, and the cost incurred 
by the State. As the records previous to the present 
century are imperfect, I confine myself to a short review 
of the greater famines since 1800, and will endeavour to 
elicit the lessons which they afford. 

In 1803 and 1804 there was partial famine in 
Bombay, Hyderabad, Northern Madras, and in the 


North- West Provinces. In Bombay the effects of the 
scarcity were aggravated by war. The price of grain 
was four times its usual amount. The deaths do not 
appear to have been recorded. Grain was imported 
into Bombay by Government, and exportation was pro- 
hibited. Public works and hospitals were opened for the 
strangers who sought aid in the towns of Bombay and 
Surat. In the North- West Provinces, Government made 
large remissions of revenue, gave loans to the land- 
owners, and offered a bounty on imports. In this case 
there was active Government interposition. But the 
whole expenditure could not have replaced one -twentieth 
of the crop that was lost. 

In 1813 there was a famine in Guzerat and Eaj- 
pootana, and the adjacent portion of the North- West 
Provinces. Grain rose to six times its ordinary price. 
The distress was great, three -fourths of the cattle in 
Eajpootana died, " man ate man," skeletons lay in 
every direction, and when rain came many died of 
fever, brought on by low condition. The Government 
of Bombay refused to interfere either with export or 
import, declaring that unassisted trade, if left to itself, 
could do more to relieve distress, and effect an equable 
distribution of supply, than Government could with all 
its resources. It was not stated that any food was 
imported, although 325,000 tons must have been lost. 

In 1833 there was a terrible famine in the northern 
districts of Madras. The price of grain, however, seldom 
rose higher than three times its ordinary amount. Out 
of a population of 500,000 in Gantur, one of the districts 


affected,, 200,000 are said to have died of famine. 
Government, having been taken by surprise, did very 
little to relieve distress, the whole expenditure not 
having exceeded £30,000, which could not have replaced 
the hundredth part of the food that was lost. 

In 1837 the North- Western Provinces experienced 
a most extensive and severe famine. Grain rose to 
three times its ordinary price. Probably a million 
people died of famine. Government interposed early 
and with earnest effort, but on the principle that their 
duty was limited to finding employment for those who 
could work, and leaving the infirm and helpless to the 
charitable public. To this some aid was given by 
Government, but not as a matter of right. Remission 
and suspension of revenue were freely given to the land- 
owners, amounting to nearly half the land revenue of 
the affected country. Loans and advances were given 
onty for land improvement or seed-grain, as it was con- 
sidered loans for other purposes led the people to rely 
too little on themselves. Less than one per cent, were 
relieved on works, or gratuitously. The suffering endured 
left a wide-spread and lasting recollection of the horrors 
of the famine. The loss of food-grain maybe estimated 
at 1,200,000 tons. The total expenditure on relief, if 
all laid out on food, would have replaced but 118,000 
tons. In this famine the population severely affected 
was fifteen millions. Of these one-fourth may be assumed 
to be of the landless class, to whom no Government aid 
by remission or loans was given. One-half of these, we 
may suppose, were able to support themselves by the 


Government employment offered to those capable of 
working. The other half would be the helpless and 
infirm who were left to the charitable public, and among 
these, in all probability, were the one million famine 
deaths, for the prevention of which the Government on 
principle refused to make any provision. 

The next considerable famine was that of 1861, again 
in the North-West Provinces and the Punjab. The 
population affected was thirteen millions, and food-grain 
rose to three times its ordinary price. The area of 
distress was fortunately surrounded by countries with 
good crops, into which it is believed half a million of 
the poorer class fled for support. This, and the supply 
that could thence be conveniently drawn, greatly miti- 
gated the pressure. The same policy was pursued by 
Government of providing employment for those who 
could work, and leaving the helpless to the charitable 
public. But both plans were carried out in a more 
provident and thorough manner. Large relief works 
of permanent utility were opened under supervision of 
professional officers, and an ingenious test was contrived 
for the weak who could not travel for work far from 
their homes, and for those who obtained gratuitous 
relief. This was by giving them cooked instead of raw 
food (the cooking being prejudicial to caste, and in- 
tensely disliked by the people), with the further test of 
serving it only to those who submitted to residence in 
an enclosed poor-house. Less than one per cent, of the 
population received employment and relief. Notwith- 
standing the advantage of good crops in the surrounding 


districts, 200,000 people died of famine. The quantity 
of grain estimated to be lost by the drought was 
1,210,000 tons, and the total quantity imported to make 
good that loss 180,000 tons. 

The next severe famine was in 1866-7, which spread 
from the east coast of Madras upwards, being most 
severe on the coast of Ganjam, and afterwards to Orissa, 
and finally extended to Behar and Northern Bengal. 
The price of grain rose to five and six times its average 
amount in Ganjam, six times in Orissa (where, indeed, 
for a time there was none to be had at any price), and 
three times in Behar. The famine deaths in Madras 
Presidency were 450,000. The number employed on 
relief works was 12,000. Gratuitous relief was given to 
31,000 persons daily — mainly in the form of cooked 
food (after the example of the alleged success of this 
plan in 1861), and in relief-houses or camps, managed 
as in the previous famine in the North- West Pro- 
vinces. The total number relieved was but one-third 
of one per cent, of the population. 

In Orissa no one appears to have observed the 
approach of famine till it was upon them. The winter 
rice crop on which the country mainly depends was 
almost totally lost. There were no sufficient food stores ; 
and yet, as no apprehension was entertained either by 
Government or people, there was no rise of price to 
tempt imports, or to check consumption. In May, 
1866, it was suddenly discovered that no food could be 
bought in the market for the gaol prisoners and Govern- 
ment establishments. By that time the southern 


monsoon rendered importation impossible. The South 
could afford no relief, Ganjam being equally distressed. 
By the end of November 10,000 tons of food were with 
great difficulty got into the country, and given away to 
the starving people, but meantime one-third of them 
had died. The drought was followed by great floods 
which drowned the crops in the low country, so that in 
1867 the work of relief had to be taken up again. The 
total amount spent by Government was £1,270,000. 
The famine deaths were over 1,000,000. 

In Behar and Northern Bengal the famine on this 
occasion was not so severe. Relief works were opened and 
gratuitous distribution of food was made, both affording 
relief for four months to less than one per cent, of the 
people ; but the whole expenditure having been only 
£23,000, the Government can claim little credit for their 
efforts to preserve life, the famine deaths having been 
135,000. Landholders, under the permanent settlement, 
generally ignored their responsibility for the poor, and 
the urgent need of a Poor Law to enforce this duty 
where that settlement is established was clearly exem- 
plified. All the money spent by Government in the 
famine of 1866-7 would not have replaced one-twelfth 
of the food-crop that was lost. 

The great famine of 1868-9 included a large portion 
of Western and North- Western India. It was most severe 
in Mar war, Bihanor, and Ajmere, but included the 
other native States of Rajpootana, and Central India as 
far as Jhansi, also Hissar in the Punjab ; and with less 
virulence large tracts in the Central Provinces, the 


western half of the North- Western Provinces, the 
south and east of the Punjab and Guzerat, and North 
Deccan in Bombay. The population aifected was about 
forty-five millions, seventeen of which severely. The 
famine deaths were over 1,600,000, and the Government 
expenditure £720,000, which would not have replaced 
more than the twentieth part of the food-grain that 
was lost in the British Provinces alone. One million, 
two-thirds of the population, emigrated from Marwar. 
Little was done in the native States to help the people. 
But, in the British, the coming difficulty had been early 
foreseen, and for the first time the principle was de- 
clared that Government held itself responsible that no 
preventible deaths should occur. As usual the landless 
class suffered most. Grain rose to four times its usual 
price. In the native State of Rampur, money was 
distributed to the necessitous with success by the head- 
men of villages. 

With the famine of 1868-9 closes the economical 
system which up to that time prevailed. The famine 
in Behar in 1873-4 was met with a promptitude and 
energy heretofore unexampled. Sir George Campbell, 
the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, had acted as a 
member of the Commission which had investigated the 
circumstances of the unhappy famine in Orissa in 1866. 
He was therefore fully alive to the great importance of 
early as well as adequate preparation. And the Viceroy, 
Lord Northbrook, was fresh from and imbued with the 
English feeling that this country deemed itself respon- 
sible that there should be no recurrence of the horrors 


of that time. On Sir George Campbell's retirement, 
from impaired health, his successor, Sir Richard Temple, 
entered with characteristic energy upon the immediate 
direction of the famine campaign. The inquiries they 
instituted led them to estimate the deficiency to be 
provided at not less than 480,000 tons of rice. Every 
probable or even possible contingency was provided for. 
Food-grain rose between three and four times above its 
ordinary price. Government entered into direct contract 
for its importation from Burmah, and a vast machinery 
of transport was improvised to convey these supplies 
into the various parts of the country in good time, by 
which an average of upwards of 3,000 tons a day were 
laid down in the district in the three and a half months 
from March to June. Notwithstanding this active in- 
terposition of the Government, private trade continued 
fairly active. 

Having thus provided the necessary food, there was 
neither need for, nor desire to impose with the old 
severity, the test which in former famines had effectually 
repelled multitudes from seeking relief. Work was offered 
to all who chose to accept it, but without much expec- 
tation that it would be of after-value to the State, and 
uncooked food or money was given at their homes to the 
helpless and infirm. Instead of tests which imposed a 
laborious walk of twenty or thirty miles upon emaciated 
people, or cooked food which offended their most sacred 
feelings, the personal knowledge of the relieving officers 
was held to be sufficient proof of need. The result 
was that, inclusive of the small landowners to whom 



advances in grain were made, three and three-quarters 
per cent, of the population were thus maintained gratui- 
tously for six months, and a little over four per cent, on 
works for nine months. Had the famine continued for 
a whole year, the surplus grain, which was afterwards 
sold at a great loss, would have been all required. The 
cost, which was unprecedented in amount, was thus con- 
siderably increased, but the result was also without 
precedent, in that there were no famine deaths, nor the 
fatal epidemics which accompany and follow emaciated 
condition, nor even that pauperised character which is 
so commonly anticipated as a consequence of gratuitous 
relief. Costly as it appears when compared with the 
previous famines of this century, the expenditure in 
Behar is not more, when spread over the average eleven 
years in which famines occur, than one -fourteenth of the 
annual expenditure on the poor of the United Kingdom. 

This brings us to the great famine of 1876-8, the 
most wide-spread and the most costly in life and money 
since the beginning of the century. It extended over 
more than half the Madras Presidency, the whole of 
Mysore, the Deccan district of Hyderabad, and Bombay. 
It thus embraced a population of fifty millions, 
but also reaching later the North-West Provinces, 
Cashmere, and part of the Punjab. The continuance of 
excessive pressure was longer than in the famines of 
1874 or 1868. Food-grain rose to three or four times 
its ordinary price. 

The treatment of this great famine was not uniform. 
In Bombay, when the monsoon rains failed in 1876, the 


Government were ready with plans of large public works, 
which they placed under the control of professional 
engineers, declaring that relief should not be made 
attractive, but so arranging that all who chose to work 
should be secured a bare subsistence. The numbers em- 
ployed on these works for thirteen months were 285,000, 
or less than three per cent, of the population of the district 
affected. The number gratuitously relieved daily for 
the same time was but one-third of one per cent., and 
even this extremely minute assistance was burdened by 
the test of coming to relief camps to procure it, only the 
bedridden or incapable being relieved at their homes. 
The total expenditure by the Government was £1,140,000, 
and the famine deaths are believed to have exceeded one 
million. Many of the landless class were left in a state 
of great poverty and emaciation, a too easy prey to 
epidemic fever. 

In Mysore the loss of crop was reckoned at two- 
thirds of an ordinary harvest over the whole Province, 
thus causing a deficiency in the usual food supply of 
540,000 tons. If the whole money expended on relief 
works, and otherwise, had been employed in the purchase 
of food it would not have replaced more than one-eighth 
of the deficiency. The confusion that arose, in the vain 
effort to meet such a position by public works and local 
works, and by gratuitous supplies of cooked food, with or 
without condition of residence, led to great mortality, 
and to a complete change of plan after the visit of the 
Viceroy. No importations, however, were made by the 
Government. £700,000 were spent in trying to make 


one pound of food do the work of three, and one million, 
or one-fifth of the people, died. 

The Government of Madras in one respect acted 
differently. The loss of crop in the most severely 
affected districts was probably not less than that of 
Mysore, and if we assume that one-third was saved, the 
deficiency would amount to at least 2,350,000 tons. 
Without consulting the Government of India, Madras, 
on its own responsibility, purchased 30,000 tons of rice, 
to be stored in very distressed localities, to be ready in 
case local trade should fail. This was disapproved of by 
the Central Government, and any repetition of it was 
forbidden. This rebuff at the outset had doubtless some 
effect in restraining early independent action. In other 
respects the want of good understanding between the 
public works officers and the district officials was much 
the Same as in Mysore, and too much work was thrown 
upon the latter without adequate guidance from any 
prompt central authority. Difficulties arose, expenses 
increased, and Sir Eichard Temple was delegated by the 
Government of India to visit the Presidency. A system 
of village relief was introduced, by which, on the 
certificate of the headmen, money was doled out. This 
was not attended with success, having probably been too 
suddenly improvised, and with imperfect supervision, for 
frauds occurred, persons not in need intercepting what 
was intended for those most in want. In many cases, 
too, the supervising officers were unacquainted with the 
language of the people, and incapable of understanding 
them. As soon as rain came hope returned, and the 


relief works were quickly deserted. But the mortality 
had been frightful, two millions having died. Daily 
relief was given for twenty-two months to an average 
number (787,000), representing 4|- per cent, of the 
population affected, which of itself ought not to have 
cost more than £3,000,000. But the total expenditure 
is estimated at £8,000,000, so that vast sums must have 
been wasted in the unmanageable struggle with despairing 
multitudes who had left their village organisation for em- 
ployment or relief. The total quantity of food imported 
into the Presidency was sufficient only to feed nine 
millions for twelve months, while the famine lasted for 
twenty-two months. 

The scarcity in the Punjab in 1878 was chiefly due 
to the high prices caused by the export of wheat to 
England, and the emigration of people fleeing from 
famine in Cashmere. 

In the North- West Provinces the drought of 1877-8 
was more severe than in either 1860 or 1868; it spread 
over a larger area, and the loss it caused was more than 
double the loss in either of the two former cases. The 
crops reaped amounted to but one -sixth of an average 
over the whole Province ; thus involving a loss which 
has been estimated at 3,420,000 tons. The money 
expended on relief, £200,000, if it had been all laid out in 
the purchase of grain, would have replaced only the odd 
20,000 tons of the above enormous loss. The average 
number relieved daily for twelve months was 69,450, 
which is barely one-fourth of one per cent, of the popu- 
lation. Arrangements were made for opening remu- 


nerative works, both large and small, and for a time 
considerable numbers were employed. But a fall of 
rain was followed by a reduction of the price of food, 
and by re-opening the ordinary sources of employment. 
The necessities of the people thus appearing less, greater 
strictness in giving relief was enforced, and the wage 
reduced to a bare subsistence. The works became 
nearly deserted in the beginning of December, but the 
rain which then fell put an end to the need of artificial 
irrigation and stopped all field employment. The rain 
was accompanied by intense cold, which told heavily on 
the poorer classes, who had been living on reduced 
rations, and had in many cases sold the thatch of their 
houses to buy food. The winter crop was promising, 
but the monsoon of 1878 held off, and the Government 
had a large scheme of useful works prepared of various 
classes sufficient for the employment of 9^- per cent, of 
the population. But these remedies were not found 
necessary, as rain came in July, and was followed 
by an active demand for labour, which enabled the 
Government to close its relief works in October. The 
famine deaths were 1,250,000, small pox, fever, and 
bowel diseases having completed what emaciation began. 
The quantity of food introduced into the country was 
wholly inadequate to meet the great deficiency of the 

In reviewing the famines of this century we are at 
once struck with the meagre assistance afforded by the 


Government previous to 1874. The only instance of 
Government relief having been given to an extent 
exceeding one per cent, of the population severely affected, 
was Orissa, where the circumstances were quite excep- 
tional. Eelief to the extent of one-third of one per cent., 
less than one per cent., and in some cases nothing, such 
was the amount of aid with which the several Govern- 
ments of the country met the inroads of famine. The 
total expenditure averages but 4d. a head of the 
famine-stricken populations. It was practically nothing 
as compared with the loss of food. The prices of grain 
rose generally three to four-fold. The whole Govern- 
ment outlay, if it had been spent in the purchase of 
food, would not have replaced the thirtieth part of that 
which was lost. Various principles of treatment were 
tried, with much the same result. In one case the 
Government did nothing ; in another they were sur- 
prised, and did little ; in another they encouraged 
import and prohibited export. In 1837 they laid down 
a rule to help the capable, and leave the incapable to 
charity; in 1861 this principle was adhered to, with the 
addition of a distance test, and a cooked food test 
administered in relief houses. In 1866 the cooked food 
test was partially abandoned, on account of the intense 
caste repulsion felt to it. The leading desire in affording 
relief was to make it so unattractive as to repel all but 
the most necessitous, and to force those who, from age 
or incapacity, were unable to work, to resort to relief 
houses or camps for their dole of food. Estimating the 
deaths in the earlier years, where they are not recorded, 


at the same proportion as those in which they are set 
forth, fully six millions must have perished of famine. 

With the famine of 1874 in Behar a new system was 
inaugurated. It is the first which shows successful 
management as measured by the saving of life, for there 
were no famine deaths. Its characteristics were that 
nearly eight per cent, of the population severely affected 
received relief, during its continuance, by the active 
and early intervention of the Government, and that no 
one in need of relief was repelled from work, or aid, by 
distance or other tests. And it was marked by the 
successful introduction for the first time of the system 
of village relief and inspection, and by that means the 
distribution of food to all the really necessitous. A 
further reason ma}^ be added in explanation of its success 
that this famine was under the immediate control of the 
Viceroy and his very able Lieutenant, and that there 
was no superior authority in India to interfere or to be 
consulted. The expenditure was on a scale up to that 
time unprecedented, largely increased by the necessity 
of improvising costly means of transport, and by a 
considerable loss sustained in a surplus stock of grain 
food provided, but most of all by the determination that 
no one should, if possible, die for lack of food. When 
compared with the annual expense of maintaining the 
poor in England, the cost of a famine such as this, 
which comes but nine times in a century, is extremely 
moderate. As measured by the price of grain, and the 
apprehensions entertained in the early months of the 
famine, there can be no doubt of its intensity at that 

SUCCESS OF 1874-5, NOT MAINTAINED IN 1877-8. 205 

time, and that if the usual measures had been adopted 
it would have formed no exception to the usual famine 

The lesson of 1874 was, unfortunately, only partially 
followed in Bombay and Madras in the famine of 
1877-8. There was an expenditure on as great a scale, 
but the preparations were not made with the same com- 
pleteness or promptitude, and the old system of making 
relief repellant and unattractive was reverted to. Thou- 
sands in consequence died rather than leave their homes, 
and tens of thousands died on their way to, and in, the 
relief camps. The s}^stem of village inspection and 
relief, for the first time established in 1874 with so 
much success, was almost set aside, though this was the 
remedy which, of all others, proved the most complete 
at that time. Wherever it was followed in 1877-8 there 
was comparative freedom from mortality. In so far as 
it was incompletely followed there w^as great mortality. 
Before the end of 1876, one-fourth of the people had 
begun to eke out their scanty supply of food by resort- 
ing to unusual articles which predisposed them to 
disease. In July, 1877, in Bellary, it was rare to find 
man or woman in effective condition for labour. Fatal 
injury to the functions of assimilation had thus arisen 
before the people were brought within schemes of public 
relief, the most truly economical application of which, in 
famine times, is in such early help as will give assurance 
of life. When the village is deserted, and the family is 
scattered, depression of vitality comes on, there is no 
longer desire for life. It is not obstinacy that prevents 


persons in this condition from seeking relief, but mental 
depression, which should be dealt with humanely, and 
not by making relief repellant and unattractive. The 
greater mortality, distress, and expense incurred in 
Madras, apart from the main fact of the greater extent 
and intensity of famine, and the confusion and waste 
which arose, may, in some degree, be attributed to the 
unwieldy size of the districts, and the comparatively 
small number of European officers. 

The management of the drought of 1877, in the 
North- West Provinces, is an exception from that of 
Behar in 1874, of a different kind. Though the scarcity 
of 1877-8 has been clearly shown to have been much 
more severe than either of the two which preceded it, no 
attempt was made by Government to replace any part 
of the stupendous loss of food occasioned by the drought. 
A moderate spring harvest was accepted as having 
removed the fear of famine. The lessons of 1874 were 
altogether ignored. The village relief system was not 
attempted, and the old plan of distance and other tests 
to render relief works unattractive and repellant were 
adopted. Careful plans for large works of a public and 
valuable character were prepared, but were not opened. 
The people seem to have lost heart enough to face the 
natural and artificial difficulties with which they were 
beset, and 1,250,000 of them died of famine. If no 
value is placed on human life, this famine may claim to 
have been one of the most cheaply managed in history. 
It cost the Government but 2Jd. a head of the popula- 
tion severely affected ! 


In all Indian famines the nniform experience has 
been that the people at once return to their usual 
avocations on the arrival of rain, in whatever form 
relief has been administered. In no instance does it 
appear that they have been pauperised by gratuitous 
help in time of famine. 

From this review the only conclusion we can arrive 
at is that the general principles of famine manage- 
ment which proved so entirely successful in 1874 should 
be the leading guide of the Government in future 

The agricultural population of India, which comprises 
nine-tenths of the people, dwell in villages not holding 
the land in common, but organised under natural or 
selected leaders, who are recognised, and in many cases 
salaried, by Government. Three-fourths of the people 
are landholders ; the remainder are artisans, weavers, and 
labourers. They have fixed positions in the society, are 
orderly and considerate of each other, and charitable and 
helpful to the poor of their community in seasons when 
there is abundance, or even only a sufficiency of food. 
If drought and famine come the land cannot be 
cultivated, the landless class have no employment and 
no stores of food, and, with want staring them in the 
face, they break away from their families and villages in 
search of food. 

When families are broken up, and all the ties of 
order and village organisation are lost, and the poorer 
people become a moving multitude wandering from their 
homes in despair, no expenditure, however extravagant, 


can prevent famine death. It is only by maintaining 
the village society that order can be completely preserved, 
and the aid and influence of the natural heads of the 
people be effectively utilised by the Government. There 
has been a mistaken desire to obtain some economical 
return for the food given to the people to sustain life, 
partly in order to reimburse the State, and partly to 
prevent pauperising the recipients. The first considera- 
tion, however, must be the preservation of life ; 
the second, and subordinate one, the most economical 
mode of accomplishing this. The medical and other 
evidence in regard to the first is wholly in favour of 
the maintenance of the village system as the only 
effective means of saving life by preserving order, and 
securing to the people the shelter and little comforts of 
home which so materially help to economise food. As 
a rule the Indian agricultural labourers do little hard 
work between seed-time and harvest. It is very 
important that they should be at hand to take 
advantage of the first reappearance of rain to resume 
agricultural operations, and there are many ways in 
which, without much exertion, they can advantageously 
eke out a moderate allowance of food by little earnings 
from their richer neighbours. If maintained in this 
orderly and natural manner, without hard labour being 
exacted, they would be physically in better condition at 
the end of a famine year, and would be in a more fit 
state to resume their usual agricultural avocations, than 
if fully and more expensively fed on distant labour relief 
works. The stronger men of the village might be 


employed with great economy and advantage in carrying 
food to the villages from the relief centres, and in no 
other way could their labour he more profitably utilised. 

If it be granted that this is the most effective mode 
of saving life, let us farther test it on the question of 
greatest economy. It will be admitted that a man on 
hard labour, exposed to the weather, and away from the 
shelter, comfort, and convenience of home, will require 
one-fourth more food than the man from whom no 
labour is exacted, who must be content, like his betters 
the landholders, in time of famine to live on short 
allowance, and who enjoys home advantages. On every 
four millions expended there would thus be a saving of 
one million, and on every four thousand tons of food 
transported a saving of the transport of one thousand, 
a matter of extreme importance in those parts of the 
country unprovided with railways and of difficult access. 
On the same principle it would follow that in a famine - 
stricken population five millions would be kept alive 
where no labour is exacted on the same food as would 
be required for four millions working under a labour test. 
In other words, one million lives might be saved by 
giving up that ineffective labour which is admitted on 
all hands to have little economical value. 

But there would be more than this saved. The 
disruption of Society caused by relief works, and the 
improvised machinery of superintendents new to the 
work and frequently ignorant of the language of the 
people ; the necessary neglect of their ordinary duties 
by the civil officers thus employed ; the necessity 


of maintaining a constant and costly staff of the 
Department of Public Works, with plans always 
ready for execution, which, if really beneficial, should 
not wait for a period in which their execution must be 
on the most expensive scale ; the great public cost of 
all this would be saved. Further, there would be the 
limitation by one-fourth of the severe pressure on other 
districts of India by the necessity of drawing away from 
them a portion of their ordinary supply of food. When 
to all these considerations fair and adequate weight is 
given, I feel no doubt that in time of severe famine, even 
in point of economy, the saving of food, by exacting no 
labour, will bear a favourable comparison with the 
profitable results of the costly labour of famine relief 
works. The annual sum set aside for famine relief is 
indeed very moderate for so large a population. Com- 
pared with England it is not more than one-fiftieth per 
head of our annual expenditure in the relief of the poor. 

This was the main principle of the successful 
treatment of famine in 1874, and I, with confidence, 
recommend that it be more fully developed, and more 
completely carried out in future Indian famines. 

The village system would then become the central 
point and basis of future Indian famine relief. The 
natural leaders of the community, the headmen, who 
are now the quasi officers of Government, who know the 
individual circumstances of the people, and have the 
deepest interest in their welfare, should be more fully 
recognised, and their position made so desirable that their 
active co-operation might be insured ; and especially 


would this be desirable in localities difficult of access, 
if it should hereafter be deemed proper to buy and 
store food, under their supervision, for the landless class, 
in years of abundance. In cases where relief is given by 
Government gratuitously, the repayment of some pro- 
portion of the cost might be imposed on the village 
property as its reasonable share of the burden, and, at 
the same time, as a check on over liberality with the 
public money. 

The terrible fact of five millions of people having 
perished in the famine of 1877-8, and the complete 
break-down that then occnrred, were but a repetition on 
a larger scale of the failure which has characterised the 
management of every Indian famine in this century, 
with the single exception of that of 1874. This was 
ruled by the principle that, before all other considera- 
tions, the saving of life should be the first object of a 
British Government armed with absolute power, and 
therefore the more responsible for the lives of its helpless 



Having endeavoured to take the reader with me over 
the country I traversed, I will now state the main 
impressions left on my mind in regard to the Land 
and People of India. 


The larger proportion of its people dwell in the great 
Gangetic Plain and its tributaries, where the density of 
population extends from 300 up to nearly 700 on the 
square mile. The British territory in India is twice as 
populous by the square mile as that of the native States, 
and it may be inferred that it is in that degree richer 
and naturally more productive. We seem to have ap- 
propriated the best of the country, and the people 
under English rule have multiplied rapidly upon it. 

The available good land in India is nearly all 
occupied. There are extensive areas of good waste land, 
covered with jungle, in various parts of the country, 
which might be reclaimed and rendered suitable for 
cultivation, but for that object capital must be employed, 
and the people have little to spare. The produce of 
the country on an average of years is barely sufficient 
to maintain the present population and make a saving 
for occasional famine. 

The greatest export of rice and corn in one year is 
not more than two weeks' consumption of its inhabitants. 
Scarcity, deepening into famine, is thus likely to become 
of more frequent occurrence. The people increase at the 
rate of one per cent, a year. The check caused by the 
late famine through five million of extra deaths, spread 
as it was over two years and a-half, would thus be 
equal only to the normal increase over all India for 
that time. In ten years, at the present rate of growth, 
and subject to deduction for famine deaths, there will 
be seventeen and a-half million more people to feed, 
in twenty years upwards of thirty-five millions. This 


must be met by an increase of produce, arising from 
better management of the cultivated area, and enlarge- 
ment of its extent by migration to unpeopled districts, 
and by emigration to other countries. We are dealing 
with a country already full of people, whose habits 
and religion promote increase without restraint, and 
whose law directs the sub-division of land among all 
the male children. As rulers, we are thus brought face 
to face with a growing difficulty. There are more 
people every year to feed from land which, in many 
parts of India, is undergoing gradual deterioration. Of 
this there can be no stronger proof than that the land 
revenue in some quarters is diminishing. It is unsafe 
to break up more of the uncultivated poor land. 
The diminution of pasture thereby already caused is 
showing its effect in a lessening proportion of working 
cattle for an increasing area of cultivation. 

I cannot, therefore, share the confidence felt by the 
Government of India that, by recourse to land of inferior 
quality (now needed and used for the pasturage of the 
working cattle), and through the industry of the poorest 
class of cultivators, whose holdings are being reduced by 
increasing numbers to still smaller bounds, the country 
will continue capable of providing for enlarging wants 
as they arise. On the rich plains of India, where there 
is either an abundant rainfall or the means of irrigation, 
the natural advantages of the country may probably 
carry the increasing population for some considerable 
time. But two-thirds of the people are dependent on 
" dry " cultivation, where the land, naturally less rich 


and without the command of water, is being gradually 
reduced in fertility by an exhaustive process of 
husbandry, while the people, who have no other means 
of living but by the land, are increasing and becoming 
poorer. This is a danger which I early observed while 
in India, and it is much aggravated by the unrestrained 
sub-division of holdings among the male members of a 
family. The Government of India see no remedy for 
this but the pressure of a dense population on itself. 
The Co-Begent of Hydrabad acknowledged the diffi- 
culty to me, but added, " It is the custom of the 
people to sub-divide, and who can interfere with that ? " 
Nature herself interferes by periodically cutting down 
by famine the surplus population. 

Except by emigration to tropical sugar colonies, and 
in the opening up of, and migration to, rich jungle lands 
in various parts of India, which the limited means of the 
cultivators has hitherto left untouched, there appears to 
me but one remedy — an increased produce from the land 
at present cultivated. The area of productive soil may 
be increased not only by enlarging its surface over wide 
tracts of inferior land, but by working deeper into the 
naturally rich soil, the lower stratum of which has for 
long ages lain untouched. There is thus still a large 
margin to be filled before a maximum produce could be 
reached, and a dormant fund of power for the attainment 
of this in the insufficiently employed labour of India. 
The present average produce is below 10 bushels an acre. 
A gradual and progressive improvement in agriculture 
might raise this in the progress of time to 12, 15, and 


even 20 bushels, and make the country safe for many 
generations. All interests in India are thus concerned 
in the improved cultivation of the soil. The land- 
owner, whether Government or zemindar, the capitalist 
or local banker who finds the current capital, the actual 
cultivator, and the landless labourer. This is the great 
and indispensable work to be undertaken and achieved 
by any successful Government in India. 

The pressure on the means of subsistence is rendered 
more severe by the moral disorganisation produced by 
laws,* affecting property and debt, not adapted to the 
condition of the people. In most parts of India, as 
shown by the proceedings in the Legislative Council on 
the Deccan Ryots Belief Bill, and as is plain to any 
careful observer in the country, the people are not only 
dissatisfied with our legal system, but while the creditor 
is not much enriched, the debtor is beiug impoverished 
by it. Those British officials who see this, feel them- 
selves powerless to influence a central authority far 
removed from them, subject to no control of public 
opinion, and overburdened with details with which it is 
incapable of dealing. 

We have introduced a system the first object of 

* The Civil Procedure Code has 650 sections, and in minor cases is a 
u burden almost too heavy to be borne." It has been amended in 170 
instances, and in Mr. Hope's opinion requires it in as many more. " How- 
ever refreshing to the legal intellect the solution of its subtle distinctions, 
and however noble to argue and judge with the same care whether five 
rupees or five lakhs are involved, the world that has to toil and live can 
neither wait nor pay for such entertainment." — Hon. T. C. Hope's speech 
in Legislative Council of Government General, October lUh, 1879. 


which, for a Foreign Government, is necessarily the 
subjection of the people. This is rendered easier by the 
religious difference between the Hindoos and Moham- 
medans which prevents their union against us, and they 
are in such proportions that the larger number of the 
first prevents the more warlike character of the second 
assuming predominance. We are accepted as the 
arbiters of justice to both, and the protectors of the 
weak against the strong. A handful of Englishmen 
could not hold these multitudes on any other principle. 
And nobly, on the whole, do they discharge their duty, 
treating with the same justice and consideration all 
classes of the people, and exhibiting in their conduct to 
their native subordinates, and to the people generally, 
that combination of the best qualities of the English 
character which inspires confidence and commands 
respect. The strength we wield is a powerful army, 
now by the aid of railway and telegraph capable of 
rapid concentration on any threatened point. And we 
govern through British officers stationed in every 
district of the country, who, under the supervision of 
the respective Governments, administer the law, 
command the police, and superintend the collection of 
the revenue. Native officers are employed under them, 
both in the Judicial and Eevenue Departments in large 
numbers, to whom the drudgery of government is com- 
mitted. The whole number of such officers, not reckon- 
ing the native army or police, is not more than one in 
ten thousand of the people. The English officers are 
not one in two hundred thousand, strangers in language, 


religion, and colour, with feelings and ideas quite 
different from theirs, and enforcing a system of law, the 
justice of which they are slow to comprehend, while its 
costliness and delay are manifest. 

By our centralising system we have drifted away 
from the patriarchal method of rule common in the 
East, where the populations are agricultural and dense, 
under which the management of the people is left to 
their natural leaders, the head men of the villages, 
hereditary or elected by the people, who are recognised 
by the community, and who administer justice, and 
preserve order, and are responsible for the public 
revenue. We have superseded this by too little regard- 
ing the head men, and in Madras and Bombay by an 
attempt to bring millions of small landholders into 
direct contact with the Government, through native 
officials of a low type (for the higher class of officers 
rarely have time to see them), and with a theory that 
our European officers, so few in number, will be able 
personally to supervise this arrangement, which is 
physically impossible.* The head men, no longer 
recognised or treated as leaders, and seldom communi- 
cated with except through the lower class of native 
officials (who take advantage of their position to extort 
bribes), become distrustful of us, and are distrusted by 
us. I rarely met a civilian in India who did not speak 
of the head men with distrust. The British merchants 

* I was told on high authority that, in some of the large collectorates 
in Madras, it would take two years for the collector to visit all his 


who carry on their great business in India make no 
similar complaint of the native merchants, whom they 
find upright and honest. Our officers do not know the 
natives as they used to do when our Government was 
less centralised, and they are every year becoming more 
strange to the people by the increase of indoor judicial 
duties, and the frequent changes from one locality to 

Following out our English ideas by collecting the 
land revenue in the convenient shape of money, we 
superseded the old principle of taking it in kind, in 
certain proportions of the produce, according to the 
value of the land. This is an ancient and common 
principle in all countries, both East and West, and 
prevails still in most Eastern States, and in many parts 
of Europe in the metayer system. It is specially suited 
to small cultivators having little or no capital, and it 
carries within it a natural check on over-population. 
For, when payment of rent is made by a share of the 
crop, the cultivator, if he finds that his land requires 
rest from over-cropping, lets it rest in fallow, as he 
saves in rent when he leaves the land idle. He must 
thus hold a larger area than he requires to keep under 
crop, and this operates against over-density of popula- 
tion. The share of the owner is greater in seasons of 
abundance, and when the crop fails the cultivator is not 
called to pay what he does not possess. The owner 
is also interested in rendering the land productive, and 
is, therefore, more ready to co-operate with the cul- 
tivator in such improvements as are calculated to in- 


crease the income of both. Without this joint interest 
on the part of the landowner the system would be a 
bar to improvement, as in no country would labour or 
expenditure in improvements be made if another person, 
who had not contributed thereto, was allowed to share 
the gain. And there would not be now the same 
difficulty in India as in former times in realising the 
owner's share, as roads and railways have opened up 
markets where it can be readily disposed of. The 
system possessed two qualities of great value : first, a 
self-adjusting action of re-assessment, instead of the 
arbitrary re-assessments which are now the cause of 
great cost to the Government and much annoyance to 
the people ; and second, a comparative independence of 
the money-lender who has become the source of most 
of the litigation which has since overspread the 

In making a change from produce rents to fixed 
money assessments we should have clearly recognised 
the native principle that the tenure was that of 
cultivating tenants, with no power to mortgage the 
land of the State. The common principle of land tenure 
in the East is that the land is the property of the 
Government, held by the occupier as tenant in here- 
ditary succession so long as he pays the Government 
demand. In British India that might be restricted by 
fixed and clear principles of periodical change, founded 
on the average prices of produce during a given term, 
which would give confidence to the occupier, and show 
distinctly the advantage of his security compared with 


that of occupiers under native arbitrary Governments. 
If lie had no power to pawn his land he could not 
obtain too much credit from his banker. Instead 
of the easy mode of borrowing, the cultivator would 
have to rely on his own labour, the land would be 
more honestly tilled, and would yield a more generous 

The right given to the impecunious cultivator to 
mortgage the public land has made him the slave of the 
money lender. Government rent must be paid on the 
day it becomes due ; it is rigorously exacted by the 
officials, and as the Bunyia is the only capitalist within 
reach, the cultivator gives a charge on the land, and 
hands over all his crop to the money-lender as a 
security for cash advances. An account is opened ; the 
cultivator delivers and is credited with the value of his 
crop at the low price prevailiog after harvest ; and from 
week to week, as he requires food or seed, it is doled out 
to him, and he is charged at the retail price fixed by the 
seller, with interest varying from 2 to 3 per cent, per 
month, a rate no doubt proportioned to the risk. Diffi- 
culties and disputes arise ; the courts are appealed to ; 
litigation begins ; the pleaders find employment ; and the 
time and attention of the civil officers, European and 
native, is occupied in adjusting questions which otherwise 
would not have arisen. The law necessarily enforces con- 
tracts, and in all parts of India the courts are crowded 
with litigants, the losing parties being generally the 
cultivators, who, when reduced to extremities, either 
resort to riot and bloodshed, as in Sonthal and the 


Deccan, or are absorbed into the growing mass of 
Indian poverty. 

Having parted with these two sheet-anchors, the 
native village organisation, and the self-adjusting prin- 
ciple of land tenure with produce rents, Indian statecraft 
has fallen upon the quicksands of legal sophistry. In 
consequence of this, at enormous cost to the State, a 
large proportion of official strength is kept constantly 
engaged upon questions of law, which harass and 
impoverish the people. 

The system of land tenure in British India varies 
in the different Provinces. In Bengal most of the land 
became private property a century ago under the Corn- 
wallis settlement, subject to a low fixed rent, payable 
to the Government, and the land is let by its owners 
to labourers and cultivators. In this and the other 
Provinces, many of the occupying tenants hold from the 
landlords at fixed rates, and cannot be dispossessed so 
long as these are paid. But in all parts of India the 
cultivators, whether holding direct from the Govern- 
ment or as under-tenants, are either ryots with 
occupancy rights paying variable rates, or yearly 
tenants. Classes or races less skilled in husbandry, and 
Brahmins and Mohammedans, are in the North- West 
assessed by reason of their class on a lower scale than 
industrious cultivators. In the village system of Upper 
India, the cultivators are liable as a body to the 
Government for the entire rent, but in Bombay and 
Madras the State is the landlord of each. Where each 
name is specified, the individual right is recognised 


though the village system may be in force. In 
Bombay the assessment is fixed for thirty years, and 
the same principle is being gradually introduced 
in Madras. In Bengal and Upper India there are 
often intermediate rights between the Government and 

The principle of fixing the Government rent for 
thirty years is being generally adopted. As the term 
of re-assessment approaches, great anxiety is felt by the 
cultivators, and many expedients are resorted to with 
the view of preventing a rise. The cost of a re-assess- 
ment is enormous, both in money and time. Many 
millions sterling have been already spent upon it, and 
with very doubtful benefit. The officers engaged in 
many cases admit that they have no special knowledge 
of the quality or value of land. Nothing more alarms 
the people than a new survey of their fields. Now in 
most parts of India the contents of every field are 
known, and some idea of its relative value is noted in 
the village map and books, which are carefully kept by 
the native village officers. Wherever I have examined 
these documents I have had occasion to admire their 
fulness and apparent accuracy. When a re-assessment 
is to be made, it might be taken on a general principle 
applicable to the various qualities of soil, proportioned 
to the change of prices in the locality, by an addition or 
subtraction as the case might require, of so much an 
acre on all the best land, half on that of second quality, 
and a quarter or an eighth on the remainder. It is but 
a rough method, but would probably be more reliable 


than the costly and alarming process of survey and re- 
assessment now adopted. 

Whatever form land tenure takes, prosperity is 
seldom found where it is not reasonably definite and 
secure. Success can be obtained only by such an 
amount of labour and thrift as will enable the cultivator 
to pay his rent with regularity, or if a freeholder to 
keep himself out of debt. The greater the prosperity 
among the cultivators the larger will be their power to 
give profitable employment to their hired labourers. 
It must be constantly borne in mind, in considering 
this question, that a large portion of the population of 
India are now of the labouring class, dependent on em- 
ployment, and the more the land becomes sub-divided, 
and then more exclusively cultivated by its possessor, 
the more helplessly dependent becomes the condition of 
the landless labourer. Though wages have risen at the 
centres of industry, this is not the case in the purely 
agricultural parts of the country. In such localities 
the labourer gets the same dole of food that he got in 
the last generation. The numbers of such people are 
increasing, and their condition is becoming every ten 
years more desperate. 

Thus the greatest difficulty with which the Indian 
statesman is confronted is over-population, with con- 
stant increase, and his first and main duty will be to 
carry out a policy under which the people may be 
enabled to provide themselves with food. Every other 
consideration should be subordinated to this. 

As the best land is already occupied, the attention of 


each Provincial Government should be directed to open 
up easy access to any good jungle land within the 
Province which has hitherto been neglected. In most 
parts of India there are large tracts of such land, but 
especially in the Punjab, Assam, Burmah, and Central 
India. English capitalists should be welcomed. Lines 
of railway to open up such regions should be sur- 
veyed, and their construction proceeded with as might 
be found convenient, and carried out as famine works 
when the occasion arose. The land should be offered 
for sale to the first comer at a low fixed price per acre, 
leaving him to make such profit as he can, either by 
settling people upon it, or cultivating it himself. Free 
grants of land, or grants at low rates, conditional on 
occupation, might also be useful. 

The agricultural system, except in the richer and 
irrigated lands, is to eat or sell every saleable article 
the land produces, to use the manure of the cattle for 
fuel, and to return nothing to the soil in any proportion 
to that which is taken away. Every increase of popula- 
tion aggravates the danger. When population was not 
pressing on the cultivated land, and there was space 
enough to admit of it, the exhausted land was allowed 
to rest in fallow for a time, and in the hot sun and 
genial rains to recruit its productive powers. But there 
is no longer room for this. Crop follows crop without 
intermission, so that Indian agriculture is becoming 
simply a process of exhaustion. Even in some tracts 
of canal irrigated land, where water is lavishly used 
without manure, crops have ceased to grow. An ex- 


hausting agriculture and an increasing population must 
come to a dead lock. No reduction of the assessment 
can be more than a postponement of the inevitable 
catastrophe, and no attempt, by the Government or its 
officers, merely to shift the burden, will meet the two- 
fold difficulty. 

The system of agriculture must be converted from 
an exhausting to a restorative one, and minute sub- 
division of the land be so restrained that the increase of 
population be kept within the capacity of the soil to 
feed it, or of emigration to carry it off. The task of 
government is thus one of enormous difficulty, unless 
we are prepared to leave the surplus population to be 
periodically cut down by famine to the numbers which 
a rude agriculture can maintain. 

For both objects the co-operating aid of the people 
themselves must be obtained, and that will be best 
elicited when clearly felt by them to be for their self- 
interest. They are not freeholders like the small 
landowners of France, who are self-restrained, frugal, 
industrious, and improving cultivators. The population 
of India is more exclusively agricultural than that of 
most other countries, yet the extent of land there cul- 
tivated, in proportion to the population, is the smallest 
known. A square mile of land in England cultivated 
highly gives employment to 50 persons, in the propor- 
tion of 25 men, young and old, and 25 women and boys. 
If four times that number, or 200, were allowed for 
each square mile of cultivated land in India, it would 
take up only one-third of the population. In no agri- 


cultural country that I know of are so many people to 
be seen stalking idly about during the hours of labour 
as in India. The streets, and court-houses, and yards 
are full of idlers ; the roads are never empty ; and the 
railway stations and natives' railway carriages are 
crammed with people. Entering a village at any hour 
of the day you are surrounded by idlers. Much of this 
arises from the absence of other occupation than agri- 
culture, and from the uncertain character of land 

There is strong proof that even a 30 years' settle- 
ment is not reckoned by the cultivator such a security 
as would lead him to spend any capital he may save on 
permanent improvements. A man having two holdings, 
one of which is only a few acres of personal " Inam " 
land, upon which the low quit rent cannot be raised, 
will spend all his savings upon it in making wells or 
other permanent improvements, while he will not lay 
out a penny on the holding which is liable to future 
increase of assessment. This is a feeling common to 
cultivators in all countries, and when it attains that 
best form of permanent security, the right of private 
property, it is the surest foundation of progress, order, 
and liberty, and the only safeguard against over- 
population. The first step to it would be by per- 
manently fixing the land assessment throughout India, 
so far as the Government demand is concerned, and 
then to offer every facility for changing the tenure 
to freehold, both because it can be done without loss 
of revenue, and when done, and in the process of 


doing, that change would enlist the willing help of the 
most numerous and most industrious class in improving 
the yield of the land, and unite their interests with that 
of rulers through whom alone their possession would be 

For this object I would suggest that a Freehold 
Commission might be established in each Province who, 
on the requisition of any occupier under Government, 
should be empowered to change his tenure to freehold, 
at a valuation to be made by the officers of the com- 
mission, on such terms as might fairly represent the 
freehold value at the time. The present system of 
handing over the right to mortgage the public land, 
without payment for it, is both a wrong to the general 
community whose interest in the property of the State 
is thus encroached on, and an evil to the ignorant cul- 
tivator who in this way acquires the too easy command 
of means without that labour and thrift which would 
enable him to value and retain the boon. The price of 
conversion might be paid either in cash, or in a rent- 
charge equal to the yearly value of the price, which 
might at any time be redeemable. It would then be in 
the power of any occupier under Government to convert 
his tenure to freehold by a moderate exercise of in- 
dustry, frugality, and self-restraint. 

There is a reasonable apprehension in the minds of 
many experienced Indian officials in regard to the policy 
of fixing a permanent limit to the growth of the land 
revenue. It may therefore be useful to show that this 
system of redemption would not diminish the growth of 


the public revenue. Let us suppose that Government 
would accept redemption on the plan of 5 per cent, per 
annum paid half yearly, to redeem principal and interest 
in 35 years. This is the rate at which loans for the 
purchase of the freehold of their farms by Irish tenants 
are advanced by Government. But no advance of 
capital would be required in India, as in Ireland, this 
operation being for the redemption of the Government 
land, which is the capital. There would not therefore 
be that risk which must attend advances of capital made 
by Government to one class of its subjects, out of the 
general fund. A landholder could begin to redeem by 
paying double the present assessment. For example, a 
man holding 20 acres, at the average rent of one rupee 
an acre, who desired to convert it into freehold — the 
land being, we may suppose, estimated as worth 20 
years' purchase — would have to redeem 400 rupees, the 
redemption rate upon which, at 5 per cent., would be 
20 rupees. He would thus have to pay 2 rupees an 
acre for 35 years, one being the present rent, and one 
for the annual redemption. At the termination of the 
35 years his land would be his own property. A very 
moderate amount of thrift and industry would accom- 
plish this, the average present rate of assessment is so low. 
For the cultivator in British India would, even with this 
addition, still pay no more than the common rate charged 
to their tenants by the rulers of native States. 

And how would the Government stand? There 
must be an absolute exclusion of the use of the re- 
demption fund in anything but the payment of public 


debt, or the purchase of the guaranteed railways, or, 
when these are exhausted, as loans for reproductive 
works. The land revenue of twenty millions sterling, if 
all should eventually be redeemed at 20 years' purchase, 
would realise four hundred millions. The net receipts 
from the land revenue, after deducting cost of collection, 
are at present seventeen and a half millions. If we can 
suppose the redemption accomplished, and the whole 
public debt, inclusive of the cost of irrigation and other 
public works, and the capital expenditure of the guaran- 
teed and State railways paid off, and the balance of the 
redemption capital invested in reproductive works, we 
should have, between the saving of interest on the debt, 
and the profits from the railways and reproductive works, 
a clear income greater than before, and with a principle of 
growth more steady and unobjectionable. Bat, besides 
this, there would be the immense gain of freehold tenure, 
which would not only restrain the sub-division of land and 
check over-population, but from the first payment of his 
redemption money would unite the interests of the 
landed class in maintaining a settled Government such 
as ours, with which his interests would be indentified, 
and gradually put an end to the costly instrument of a 
land revenue establishment. All this would be obtained 
through the industry and thrift of the people them- 

Under the impulse of these qualities, and in the 
process of redemption, an improving, instead of an 
exhausting agriculture would be introduced. The 
moment exhaustion is stayed and improvement begins, 


the fear of over-population will lose much of its danger. 
For there is a large margin to be filled in the present 
yield of crops before a maximum produce can be reached. 
Each additional bushel to the acre of the present 
cultivated area of India is equal to the yearly main- 
tenance of twenty-two millions of people. And there 
is as great a dormant fund of power for the attainment 
of this object in the insufficiently employed labour of 
India as in its imperfectly cultivated soil. 



The financial state of the country would be gradually 
strengthened by the growth of its agricultural pros- 
perity. But something might be done for its immediate 
restoration by a moderate and reasonable impost on 
special crops, such as sugar, tobacco, potatoes, opium, 
jute, and other water-fed crops, which are very re- 
munerative to the grower, are not food grain, have the 
advantage of water supply, and as compared with the 
dry-crop lands are extremely moderately rated in the 
land revenue assessment. There would be no injustice 
in this, for the cultivators of such lands are always sure 
of a grain crop in addition to the special crop, and in 


seasons of drought obtain very high prices for their 
produce. The seasons of scarcity in other quarters are 
harvests of plenty for them. Such an impost would be an 
equitable mode of extracting a contribution for the needs 
of their less favourably situated countrymen. There 
are probably ten million acres to which this would apply, 
on which two rupees an acre would be a moderate charge, 
and which would thus add £2,000,000 to the annual 
revenue. This would appear to me to be at once a more 
just and more effective source from which to provide a 
famine fund than the License Tax, for which it might well 
be substituted. By exempting the wealthier classes, and 
bearing hardly on the small traders and handicraftsmen 
who themselves suffered from the high prices caused by 
famine, this tax has created a sense of wrong and bad 
feeling, out of all proportion to the amount derived 
from it. 

Next to judicious railway extension, wherever it will 
pay, the safest outlay of public money in India would 
probably be found in the increase of wells for irrigation. 
It was pointed out b} r Sir Arthur Wellesley in 1805, and 
continues still to be the fact, that much the largest 
proportion of the people in India are fed on grain other 
than rice — little more than a fourth on rice. The srrain 
is chiefly sown on the higher and dry lands which 
depend on the monsoon rains, and which cannot be 
conveniently reached by river channel irrigation. Hence 
the great advantage of giving to such lands, wherever 
practicable, the benefit of wells. If each cultivator had 
the power of applying water to one-third of his cultivated 


land, the country would be secure against drought and 
famine.* And, though water is not found in all places 
within such a depth as would admit of its profitable use, 
there are districts in most parts of India where wells 
might be made with perfect success, and without that 
risk of sickness which so frequently accompanies canal 
irrigation in other localities than deltas. The Collector 
of Cuddapah, in Madras, thus describes the value of wells 
in time of famine : " The month was February, 1877, 
when the famine was at its worst. There was not a drop 
of water in any tank or channel, and the whole country 
was a burnt-up waste. Suddenly I came across a broad 
valley through which the high road ran, which was 
comparatively speaking a perfect garden of millet and 
raggi crops. The millet was the height of a man, with 
heavy cobs just ready for reaping. These crops were 
entirely raised under wells, and extended for more than 
five miles. When I passed out of this belt to a part of 
the country where there were no wells the land was a 
dry arid waste. Similar cultivation was to be seen 
wherever there was a well. During the season of 
1876 — 7 there was scarcely an acre of productive 
cultivation (except under a few of the largest river 
channels) which was not dependent upon a well. Had 
it not been for the comparatively few wells that we 
have, the famine would have been far more intense than 

* One irrigated acre, manured, will produce two crops in a year, 850 lbs. 
at each time, equal to 1,700 lbs. This at 1£ lb. per head per day will feed 
three persons for a year, and leave 330 lbs. over for seed and other 


it was." From what I saw there, and in other parts 
of India, I am able most strongly to confirm the 
recommendation of the Committee of the House of 
Commons on Indian Public Works, in favour of ad- 
vances being offered to the cultivators for the extension 
of wells, and river-fed or deep tanks. But the mode 
of administering such advances ought to be greatly 

I will venture to suggest a practicable improvement, 
the result of which will show the magnitude of the 
issues which depend on the right management of the 
industry of a country with such large resources. The 
climate of India admits of the growth of many articles 
of commerce beyond corn and rice. One of the most 
important points for the Indian statesman is to discover 
other industries than that of the production of food, in 
order to give profitable employment to the varied 
capacities of the people. A large addition to the 
production and manufacture of tobacco, sugar, cotton, 
wool, silk, jute, and paper would have this effect. It 
could be obtained, without curtailing the supply of food, 
by such a moderate increase of enterprise, skill, and 
labour as would add one-tenth (one bushel an acre) to 
the yield of the food crops. This would enable one- 
tenth of the cultivated land to be employed in the 
production of crops for manufacture and export, thus 
setting free twenty million acres, which would add 
many millions sterling to the general wealth, when 
converted into a manufactured product by the well- 
employed industry of the people. 


Another source of gain might be found in the cotton 
crop. The produce per acre in India is not one-sixth of 
that in Egypt and America, and the quality brings but 
half the price. An acre of cotton land in Egypt, well 
watered and managed, yields 400 lbs. of cotton, worth 
£12 to £14 an acre, besides seed enough to pay all the 
cost of ginning, and something over. In India the 
average yield is 60 lbs., and the value not more than 
•20s. To produce the five million cwt. at present 
exported from India there must, at this rate of 
production, be nearly ten million acres grown, and as 
the home consumption is great the total acreage is 
probably much larger. There is here again room for 
a vast increase of agricultural wealth. The main 
distinction between the circumstances and modes of 
management is that in America there is a humid 
atmosphere and timely rains, and in Egypt, the 
cotton crop is treated as a wet crop, water being 
copiously applied at all stages of its growth — while 
in India, where the climate is hotter, it is never 

Again : The great distinction between the agriculture 
of Egypt and India, independent of the Nile, is the large 
proportion of the cultivated land in Egypt which is 
annually employed in the growth of green fodder for cattle, 
and the consequent maintenance of a powerful working 
stock, capable of deeply stirring the land, and affording 
the increase of good manure. There is nothing of the 
kind in India. The cattle in most parts at certain 
seasons are half-starved, and their manure is used for 


fuel. The difference in the result finds some illustration 
in the fact that the five million acres of cultivated land 
in Egypt yield to the Government upwards of 20s. an 
acre. While from the two hundred million cultivated 
acres of India, of which much more than five million 
are as good and more cheaply irrigated than Egypt, 
a land revenue of 2s. an acre can with difficulty be 

The whole of the arable land of Egypt is dependent 
on the waters of the Nile for moisture, as there is no 
rain. The work of keeping the irrigation canals and 
their banks in repair far exceeds in proportion anything 
that is done in India by the Public Works Department. 
But it is done by the people themselves, on a system 
not unlike ours in the fens and flat districts, rafione 
tenures. Each year a calculation is made of the labour 
required, and a fourth or a third, as may be necessary, 
is levied from the labour-power of each village. The 
individuals change from time to time with one another, 
but one-fourth at least of the adult male population is 
thus taken for the Public Works, for six months of the 
year on an average, who receive no wages and find their 
own food. This is a tax on the land equal to one-eighth 
of its agricultural labour, which valued in money would 
be equivalent to one-fifth of the Government Land 
Revenue, and is regarded as an insurance premium for 
the indispensable protection thus afforded to the agri- 
cultural land of the country. And I think it is very 
probable that in earlier times in India the old irrigation 
works were maintained by the people themselves on a 


somewhat similar system, which might with great 
public advantage and economy be reverted to, as the 
work could be done at those seasons when there is not 
much other employment for labour. 

In order to carry out these views effectively I would 
venture to suggest for consideration the following 
changes : — 

1st. That the costly English Civil Service should be 
limited to such numbers in each Presidency as would 
supply European superintendence for each district. 
The European officers should be wholly employed in 
administration, whether of justice or in the superinten- 
dence of the people, and of the native officials, and in the 
direction of the Police. They should be bound to visit 
every village in their district at least once a year, and 
become personally acquainted with its head men and 
their management, and to send a return to Government 
of its general condition. Everywhere the most common 
complaint is that they hold too much aloof from the 
people, and are too frequently absent, or moved from 
one district to another. They should remain in their 
stations long enough to obtain a personal knowledge 
of its leading people, and an interest in its welfare. 

2nd. The whole details of revenue and judicial ad- 
ministration should then, under such superintendence, 
be gradually left to native officials, the principal men 
being selected as much as possible from the upper 
classes in each Province. The immediate management 
of the people would then be conducted by chosen men 


of their own race, whose knowledge of their language, 
feelings, and motives of action so far surpasses ours that 
success might be anticipated. They better know the 
weak side of native character, and native public opinion, 
and can more successfully deal with personal differences 
and compromises. " It would be an advantage of 
incalculable value," said Mountstuart Elphinstone, 
" that the Judges being drawn from the body of the 
people could act on no principles that were not 
generally understood/' With a knowledge that pro- 
motion would be the reward of general prosperity and 
content, and degradation and loss of office would be the 
swift punishment of oppression and neglect, their suc- 
cessful management in some of the native States, as in 
our own, shows that the Civil Service of the country 
might be safely entrusted to them. Greater indepen- 
dence of action, and the permission to exercise their own 
judgment within the general limits prescribed by our 
supremacy, and with our example and supervision, 
would elicit their fullest capacity.* 

3rd. Each Province should have its own Depart- 
ment of Public Works, and carry on its works as it 
found most desirable, and as its finances admitted. 
Native engineering talent should be more cultivated, 
and fuller scope given to it. Of the large body of 

* " It has long been a favourite notion of mine that our object ought 
to be to place ourselves in the same relation to the natives as the Tartars 
are to the Chinese, retaining the Government and Military power, but 
gradually relinquishing all share in the Civil Administration, except that 
degree of control which is necessary to give the whole an impulse and 
direction." — Motjntstuart Elphinstone. 


officers employed in the Public Works Department in 
India nearly four-fifths are English, and the native 
employes are generally kept in the most subordinate 
positions. Native engineering talent has thus not only 
received little encouragement, but has been kept down 
by the present system. The existence of it is un- 
doubted, but the men who would have been found to 
direct, in former times, are gradually disappearing. 
They were the hereditary leading masons and smiths, 
who still in native States keep their pre-eminence. 
Their merit and artistic taste have been always fully 
appreciated by the English engineers and contractors, 
and their special skill in irrigation works in a country 
the chief art of which for ages has been the economical 
use of water, is fully recognised. This class of men 
working in conjunction with the native banker, who 
manages the accounts, might become native contractors, 
either of whole or sections of works, and in time take 
the place of the more costly European. The elaborate 
amount of English book-keeping and correspondence 
required by the Public Works Department, for which 
they were not fit, has excluded their practical and use- 
ful assistance from being taken full advantage of, and 
has necessitated the introduction of an entirely new 
class of overseer in the native of Bengal. If, instead of 
a Central Department of Public Works, attempting to 
deal with all India, each Province was left to its own 
guidance and responsibility, local wants would be 
listened to, local interest and sympathy would be 
aroused, public works would not be prematurely urged, 


and those most urgently needed would be first attended 
to. The local gentry and heads of villages would be 
called on to take a share in local administration, and 
native engineers and contractors would be consulted and 
employed. This would raise their position and admit 
the development of the talent kept dormant under our 
present arrangements. Not only would the State be 
served by a less costly instrumentality, but there would 
be gained also that continuity of design which is so 
liable to be broken by the change of European 
engineers, obliged by the climate to seek health at 
home. The costliness of the present system prevents 
many useful works from being undertaken : the money 
goes so short a way. A change of this kind would tend 
to great economy, and would bring out as coadjutors 
with us in the administration of India the most in- 
genious class of native talent, better capable of aiding 
in the development of the country than even that large 
body of native officials now found so indispensable in 
the Judicial and Eevenue Departments. 

4th. After permanently fixing the Government land 
assessment, the offer should be made to all occupiers 
under Government of converting their tenant or occu- 
pancy rights to freehold on the principles herein stated. 

5th. Tenants of any kind, whether under Govern- 
ment or other landowners, ought not to be dis- 
possessed without compensation for disturbance, and for 
permanent improvements made by them ; and repro- 
ductive loans by Government for the construction of 
wells for irrigation should be freely offered under proper 


conditions as to execution and security. A principle of 
elasticity should be introduced which would admit of 
the Land Kevenue, in particular localities in seasons of 
scarcity, being wholly or partly postponed, and taken 
in proportionately larger amount in seasons of plenty. 
This would be an approximation to the old principle of 
produce rents, and a natural and legitimate mode of 
Government banking. 

6th. The employment of Pleaders in Small Cause 
Courts should be forbidden, and the whole responsibility 
be cast upon the Judges. The native Punchayet Courts 
should be recognised. The fees exacted by Government 
in Small Cause Courts should be abolished. Such 
stamps and fees amount to 17 and sometimes 20 per 
cent, on the capital value of the property in litigation ; 
and, as the decree generally goes against the indebted 
cultivator, the Court thus adds for its trouble one-fifth 
to his previous debt ! I find on inquiry that, in the 
Small Debt Courts in Scotland, the only charge incurred 
by the litigant is for the delivery of the summons and 
calling the case in Court, which for any amount within 
£12 (the limit of the Court's jurisdiction) does not ex- 
ceed 3s. to 4s. paid to the officer and clerk for their 
trouble. No pleader is allowed, except by the authority 
of the judge, and to this either party may object. They 
appear personally, and the case is heard and disposed of 
in a few minutes. The judge disposes of a hundred or 
more of such cases at a sitting. An appeal can only be 
taken in very exceptional circumstances, and is not 
made use of once in a thousand cases. The whole time 


occupied, from the issue of the summons to the decree 
of Court, does not exceed 15 days. Such is the cost 
and time spent on nineteen-twentieths of the litigation 
in a rich country like this. But so little do the high 
i uthorities in India appear to appreciate the question of 
cost and delay, as affecting the hapless hut embittered 
litigant of that country, that they write approvingly of 
a charge of 17 per cent, by the State, in addition to the 
costs of the suit, as not " inordinately costly," and a 
duration for a contested suit of 40 to 250 days as "not 

7th. In order to guard against the danger of 
deficient food supply, no hindrance should be made to 
the export of food grains, which in time of scarcity, or 
on a rise of price, could be turned to home consumption. 
With this object all export duties on food grains should, 
as soon as possible, be removed. 

8th. No further expenditure should be made on 
Public Works, except from surplus revenue, without the 
sanction of the Secretary of State. But every facility 
short of Government guarantee should be offered to 
private enterprise, either in the construction of railways, 
irrigation, internal navigation, or harbours, or in the de- 
velopment of mines, or in acquiring land for subsequent 
improvement, settlement, and sale. The bes ', test that 
such works are required is when independent cipital will 
take them up without guarantee. No break of gauge 
on main through lines of railway should be allowed. 

9th. The experience already gained in India shows 
clearly that railways through the best districts may 


become a very lucrative investment, and Government 
may in future find it advisable to keep clear of all com- 
plications by reserving in their own power both the 
choice of locality and the raising of capital for construc- 
tion. The State, through a special and efficient 
Department, is quite capable of contracting for the 
execution of their works, and can borrow the capital for 
construction on more favourable terms than a company. 
And so long as British capital can only be found by a 
State guarantee, the State, which must thus bear the 
risk, has the strongest inducement to retain the profit. 

10th. There is reason to believe that coal may be 
found in various parts of India besides those in which 
it is known m to exist. Its immense value, both as a 
motive power and for fuel, in a country where not only 
all the cattle manure which should go to enrich the land 
is used for fuel, but also much of the wood which in the 
open country is so useful in its climatic influences, 
would warrant the most diligent search for it. Where 
it is known to exist convenient access should be opened. 
This is an object of first importance, on which money 
wisely spent by the State would be entirely justifiable. 

11 th. The tax on salt upon a labourer and his wife, 
receiving together wages of 2 annas, or 3d., per day, is 
a charge equal to a fortnight's wages in the year ; or to 
an income-tax of lOd. in the pound, from the poorest 
class. For this, and every other reason, this tax should 
be one of the first to be abolished. 

The vastness of the country, and the multitude of 


its inhabitants of various language and race, weigh upon 
the mind in its endeavours to grasp so great a subject. 
I recall the debates in the House of Commons of which 
I was a member, in 1858, when the transfer from the 
Company to the Crown was effected. The only example 
to be found of a single Government, with even a greater 
multitude of subjects, is China. There the government 
of each Province is wholly conducted by Provincial 
Governors, with a chain of subordination downwards, 
to whom all detail is left — though the supreme Council, 
and the Head of the State, are natives, and permanently 
resident in the country. 

British India is more populous than, and nearly 
as extensive as, the United Kingdom, France, Austria, 
Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Holland, Belgium, 
and Denmark, all combined. It has within itself 
varieties of language, race, and religion, and differences 
of climate and soil, not less marked than those of the 
European States. There is room for six Provinces in 
India, capable of being formed into independent States, 
as populous as first-rate kingdoms. Nothing struck me 
more than the greater liveliness and spirit, and general 
evidence of active industry in the capitals of native States, 
compared with towns of equal populations under our 
rule. The native gentlemen are more independent, the 
upper class in the British States having become to some 
extent gradually levelled down, and absorbed in the 
general community. The people in their cities are un- 
doubtedly more prosperous and happy than ours. Each 
is a centre, where the ablest and wealthiest congregate, 


in which the revenue of the State and the great land- 
owners is received, and where all classes of artificers, 
shopkeepers, artisans, and labourers find regular em- 
ployment, and native art and skill are developed and 
rewarded. The example we have afforded of impartial 
justice, and the equality of all men before the law, is 
taking root in the native States where our influence 
extends, and this is combined with the presence of 
Governments which determine and carry into execution, 
each for itself as it can afford, the public works deemed 
best for the general convenience. 

The variety of soil and climate, over an area so 
extensive as India, requires special legislation for 
special wants. Some years ago the then Governor of 
Bombay urged certain changes of the law, which in its 
practical working had given rise to wide-spread discon- 
tent and disaffection. But not till after two different 
outbreaks attended with violence and bloodshed, and 
special inquiries by Commissions, and a general collapse 
of credit, has it been found possible to obtain from the 
General Government a proposal for such an alteration 
of the law as the Provincial Government, if alone 
responsible, would have promptly adopted. 

The great speech on India in the House of Commons 
by Mr. Bright, in 1858, placed the question of decen- 
tralisation in the clearest light before Parliament and 
the country. He showed the difficulty of finding a man 
competent to govern India — a vast country of twenty 
nations, speaking twenty languages. The making of 
the laws, the regulations of the police, the question of 


public works, as affecting the e very-day life and welfare 
of two hundred millions of people, involved duties and 
responsibilities almost too great for any man, however 
wise, capable, and honest, properly to sustain. Great 
though the impression made by this speech at the time, 
just and true in its conception of the position and the 
principle of remedy, the progress towards its application 
has been slow and halting. Lord Mayo in 1870 appears 
to have been deeply impressed with the need of decen 
tralisation in a Government which, since Lord Dalhousie's 
time, had drawn to itself not only the direction of the 
general policy, but the minutest details of administra- 
tion. He began by giving to each Province a power of 
conducting its own local works. By proceeding with 
boldness in that direction, and casting upon each 
Province the fullest responsibility, there would be a 
large saving effected in the cost of the General Govern- 
ment, a concentration of responsibility within each 
Province that would secure promptitude of action guided 
by local knowledge, and an end of that legal pedantry 
which has forced laws upon the Provinces that have 
embittered and impoverished the people. The picture 
drawn by Mr. Hope, a member of the Governor-General's 
Council, of the condition of vast numbers of the land- 
holders of India under the laws made by the Central 
Government, and " the facilities for extortion conferred 
by them," is a painful illustration of the present 
system. "Even the passive society of the East cannot 
bear so great a burden without making from time to 
time convulsive efforts to shake it off." 


The first consequence of the independence of the 
several Provinces in regard to their local works and 
management would be a considerable economy in the 
general expenditure, and an end of meddling interfer- 
ence in the details of government. The selection of 
Governors would demand the most careful consideration 
of the Secretary of State and the Cabinet. The duties 
of Governor of an Indian Province, with an average 
population as great as that of the United Kingdom, are 
much more difficult and onerous than those of colonies, 
the average population of which is less than that of one 
of the great towns of India. His position is quite 
different, for he rules as a despotic Governor over an alien 
people, in countries fully occupied, whereas the Colonial 
Governor is aided by the helpful intelligence of men of 
his own race, and with generally an unlimited extent of 
good land still undeveloped. 

It is by the concentration of responsibility and 
authority in each Province, and the fuller development 
of native talent, that we may reasonably look for such a 
gradual growth of prosperity as will strengthen the 
people, and enable them to accumulate from the surplus 
of good years a reserve stock to meet the demands of 
scarcity. When famine comes it must be met, like an 
invasion, with the whole strength of the State ; by 
measures which shall enable each community to obtain, 
at the lowest practicable cost, a sufficiency of food to 
keep as many of their people as possible alive during its 
continuance. When this calamity overspreads a large 
area of country which is both populous and poor, it is 


vain to expect that any possible arrangements will be 
capable of averting considerable mortality. In good 
seasons life is supported with so little labour, the people 
are so improvident, and increase so rapidly, that they 
do not concern themselves with a future possibility of 
famine, which, if they think of it at all, they hope may 
not come to them. The most numerous class thus live 
from hand to mouth, without laying up any store for 
bad times, which, in their gradual approach, so reduce 
the physical strength of the mass, that, before the 
presence of famine becomes realised by the Government, 
many are already beyond the reach of succour. As the 
Government and the people become better known to 
each other, and local intelligence is called into action, 
there will be earlier knowledge of approaching danger, 
and more prompt arrangements made to meet it. 

Continuing to maintain a strong and effective 
military force, but otherwise with a reduced official ex- 
penditure — and a greater concentration of responsibility 
and independent local action in each Province — with 
the supreme power vested in a comparatively small 
number of capable and highly-placed British officers, 
and the real government of the people in their every- 
day relations with each other, civil and judicial, con- 
ducted by the selected men of their own language and 
race — we shall have done much to promote the steady 
growth of prosperity and contentment. 

The great difficulty in bringing English public opinion 
to bear upon India is the distance from which we look 


at it, and the obscurity in which it is hidden. It has 
four times the population of the United States on one- 
fourth the extent of cultivable land. Upon two -thirds 
of that the soil, by constant cropping, with little rest 
or manure, is undergoing gradual deterioration. The 
population has a tendency to increase faster than its 
means of subsistence, and the religion, habits, and 
climate impair those qualities of energy and self-denial 
which are essential to strengthen a nation's power of 
self-maintenance. Far greater than any fears of in- 
vasion from the North is the renewed annual pressure 
of two-and-a-half millions of mouths by the natural 
increase of the population of India itself. There are 
numerous modes of moderating the force of this, to the 
more important of which I have already referred. But 
the most important of all, and with which I close this 
book by an earnest appeal to public consideration, is in 
the permanent settlement of the Land Assessment, and 
the gradual adoption of the principle of freehold tenure. 
Sir Louis Mallet, in his Minute on the subject, of 
12th April, 1875, places the principle on the clearest 
basis. On the true conception of this, any successful 
treatment of the Indian problem must depend. The 
function of rent, he says, is to restrain the undue 
pressure of population on the soil. The presence of rent 
is the result of the demand for land pressing on the 
supply. To take the rent and divide it among the 
whole population, which is done when it is substituted 
for taxes, is to counteract and neutralise the operation 
of the law of supply and demand by stimulating the 


demand anew without increasing the supply, and tends 
directly to a progressive pauperisation of the com- 
munity. The tendency of State proprietorship is to 
stimulate and concentrate population, and to increase 
the demands on the soil of a particular district or 
country until there is hardly a spoonful of rice left to 
divide. Under private ownership, on the contrary, the 
tendency is to restrict, to disperse, and, in the last 
resort, to extinguish by expatriation, the surplus growth 
of population. 

The chief danger of india being over-popula- 

land. How is that to be best brought about? The 
Government must take the first step by announcing 
their readiness to fix permanently the Land Assessment, 
and to accept redemption of the public land, and 
its conversion into freehold, on some such principle 
as I have already explained. The State would not lose 
by it, as I have shown. The cultivators would not 
be slow to avail themselves of an offer which would 
for ever free them from the dreaded re-assessment of 
their land, and at the same time the Government 
would be relieved from an extremely costly operation, 
which the best of their officers know that it is not 
within human capacity to execute with adequate skill. 
The poorest class of cultivators, pressed down by 
the claims of their creditor, would be relieved from 
bondage by his redeeming the freehold and becoming 
their landlord, and sharing with them on the metayer 
system in the annual produce, which it would then 


be the interest of both to develop to the utmost. 
The most harassing branch of the business of the Law 
Courts would disappear, and the energies of the governing 
body would be directed to the gradual development, by 
native industry and capital, of that vast cultivable, but 
still uncultivated, area of India, which if held under 
freehold tenure may be found capable of giving profit- 
able employment to the surplus population for many 
generations. The pressure of necessity is the cause of 
improvement in agriculture and other industries, because 
it compels us to labour. The great object of a wise 
Government should, therefore, be to adopt such measures 
as may tend, by giving security to property and freedom 
to industry, to accelerate the increase of subsistence as 
compared with that of population. This, for India, is 
an object one of the grandest ever offered to the skill 
and enterprise of English statesmanship. The public 
debt of India, apart from the reproductive capital spent 
on railways, irrigation, and other public works, is not 
more than a single year's income, and one-third of that 
is obtained otherwise than by a tax on the people, 
for the rent of the public land is not a tax on industry. 
This is a solid advantage which should afford great en- 
couragement in the arduous task of governing India. 



Aden, its situation and depots of coal, 

Adjudija, Temple of, 93. 

Agra, splendour of the fort and palace of 
Akbar, 34. 

Agricultural experiments at Bangalore, 

Agricultural population, their organisa- 
tion, 207. 

Agricultural system and its conse- 
quences, 224; must be converted 
from exhaustive to restorative, 225. 

Ahmedabad, formerly seat of kings of 
Guzerat, 184. 

Ahmednuggur, 166. 

A j mere, Situation and temples at, 74 ; 

. Mayo College at, for education of 
Rajputana princes, 74. 

Akbar, comparison of his time with the 
present, 36 ; lineal descendant of, an 
assistant collector, 41. 

Algeria, Coast of, 4. 

Allahabad, its fine situation, 25. 

American mission at Ahmednuggur, 171. 

Arrah, Famous siege of, 107. 

Assessment, Terms of, in the Punjab, 51. 

Baird Smith, Col., monument to, at 
Calcutta, 115. 

Balrampur, Maharajah of, and good 
management of his estates, 83. 

Bangalore, Botanical gardens of, propor- 
tion of different crops and rent of land, 

Baroda, rich country, 181. 

Bassein, deserted city, rapid tides up 
river, 188. 

Bellary, Black soil of, 157. 

Benares, City of, 93. 

Bengal, Eastern, traversed by grand 
rivers, 115; number of holdings and 
rent, 101; wages in, 102; price of 
land, 102 ; subdivision of land, 114. 

Berar, assigned districts, 159. 

Biscay, Bay of, 1. 

Boats, primitive but efficient at Viziga- 
patam, 125. 

Bombay, the second city in population 
in British Empire, 15 ; the streets of, 
16 ; Mint, and value of ornaments 
melted there during late famine, 19. 

Boyle, Mr., at siege of Arrah, 107. 

Brahmapootra, splendid river, 116; 
valley of, more extensive than Egvpt, 

Brahmins, as water-carriers at railway 
stations, 154. 

Bright, Mr., his speech on India in 
1858, 243. 

Broach, ancient city, 180. 

Buckingham Canal, gives boat accommo- 
dation of 400 miles, 128. 

Buckingham, Duke of, Governor of 
Madras, 135. 

Bullock ploughs near Poona, 179. 

Bulsar, 187. 

Bunyia, in many respects a most useful 
class of native barbers, 26. 

Burdwan, rice farms and villages, 112. 

Burrows, Thompson, and Milncs, 
Messrs., sugar mills and estate, 103. 

Calcutta, city and population, 123 ; 

statues in park of, 124; cathedial 

Canal of the Soane, its capabilities, 104. 
Capital, profitable outlay in Punjab, 52. 
Castes, their number and proportion, 

Castor-oil plant, 87. 
Cattle, their management, 30; sun-dried 

of their dung used for fuel, 30. 
Cauvery irrigation, 136. 
Cawnpore, the well and its tragedy, 28. 
Chinchona plantation, value of crop, 




Civilians, their high character and just 
administration, 216 ; proportion to 
population, 216 ; their duties, 235. 

Civil code and litigation, 84. 

Coal, opening up native supply most im- 
portant, 241. 

Coffee plantations in Nilghirries, 142. 

Coimbatore, fine land, 141. 

Collectors in Bombay, the guardians of 
cultivators, 165 ; extent and responsi- 
bility of, 197. 

Coolie labour compared with British, 

Cornwallis settlement, 101, 106. 

Co-regents at Hydrabad, 214. 

Corn and rice, greatest export of, 212. 

Cotton, factory at Sholapore, 164; at 
Bombay, 17; export of, 17; yield of, 
in India and Egypt, 233. 

Council of Governor- General, 84. 

Courts, Punchayet, 239 ; civil courts 
expensive and dilatory, 168. 

Crops, other than food, capable of being 
introduced, 92. 

Cuddapah, rich country, 151. 

Cultivator, selling roof of his house to 
buy food, 156 ; plan for his relief from 
money-lender, 77. 

Dacca, Fine situation of, 119; first 
Portuguese, then French, now British, 
121 ; landlords and tenants not 
friendly, 121 ; lessons to be drawn 
from their position, 121. 

Daman, Portuguese, 187. 

Debt, Case of diminution, 91 ; laws 
affecting, 215. 

Deccan, distress and discontent and 
accumulation of debt in, 173, 175. 

Delhi, the mutiny, 63 ; the Ridge ; city 
and country round, 65 ; market 
gardens near, 65. 

Derbunga, proposed railways, 109. 

Dinapore, rich country, 108. 

Drummond, Mr. , 50 years' resident, his 
opinion of land and people, 105. 

Dung of cattle, sun-dried, 31 ; its 
various advantages, 87 ; experiments 
with it compared with its ash, 134. 

Earthen pots, safe mode of carrying, 122. 

Eastern Bengal, rich country, 115. 

Education, Effects of, 101. 

Ekrook tank for irrigation, 164. 

Elephanta, Caves of, 18. 

Erode to Coimbatore, high saleable value 

of land, 141. 
Everest, Mount, Fine view of, 111. 
Exhaustion of soil of Gangetic Plain, 

not admitted, 106. 
Experimental farms in North West 

Provinces, 32 ; at Kandeish, 170. 
Export duty on food grain should be 

abolished, 240. 

Famine relief camps, Objection to, 27 
relief work only for able-bodied, 84 
shocking means of warding off, 146 
the causes of famines, 190 ; since 1803 
191 ; Government employment in, 192 
cooked food the test of need, 193 
famine deaths and loss of food, 194 
Orissa famine, 195 ; great famine of 
1868-9, closer economical system of 
relief, 195 ; famine of 1873 effectively 
that, 197 ; great famine 1876-8, 198 ; 
variety of treatment, 199 to 202. 

Famines, Review of past, 203 ; principle 
on which successfully encountered, 204 ; 
first consideration should be the 
preservation of life, 208, 211; truest 
economy in management, 209 ; cost 
when compared with maintenance of 
poor in England very moderate, 210. 

Fish, swarms of, in rivers at Goalundo 
and Dacca, 121. 

Food of labourers in Punjab, 50. 

Forest, department, 178 ; singular 
natural provision for preservation of, 

Freehold tenure, Advantages of, 226 ; 
mode of effecting changes to, 227. 

Fuel, Dried cow-dung, price at Delhi, 

Futtapur Sekri, a deserted city, 40. 
Fyfe, Lake, irrigation tank, 172. 

Ganges, Break of, objectionable, 73. 
Ganges Canal, its deposit, pure sand, 

43 ; proportion of cultivated served by 

it, 45 ; canal, 60. 
Gangetic Plain, crops in, 27 ; richest 

and most populous part of India, 211. 



Garrow Hills, Coal in, 117. 

Ghazepore, Opium Statiou, and tobacco 

farm, 98. 
Gibraltar, its fortifications, 2. 
Goalunda junction of Ganges with 

Brahmapootra, 116. 
Godavery, extent irrigated, and increase 

of export, 127, 128. 
Government, Eajah, opinions of, 94. 
Grass, very bare in dry season, 27. 
Grass cutting, cost, and profit, 85. 

Headmen of village, 42. 

Hemp, Yield of, 87. 

Himalayas, from Roorkee, 60. 

Houses of villages, their accommoda- 
tion, 31. 

Hurdwar, where Ganges eaters the 
great plain, 60 ; holy place, 61. 

Hyderabad, the Nizam's country, 158; 
the ceded districts, 159 ; population 
and appearance of city, 162 ; prices in 
January, 1879, 163. 

Improvement by railways and canals, 
said by some not to have benefited the 
people, 46. 

Indebtedness, Cause of, 169. 

Indian and English labourers, Condition 
of, compared, 157 ; Indian Ocean at 
night, 14. 

Indigo cultivation in Behar, 10, 11 ; 
near Gazhibad, 42; system of manage- 
ment, 42. 

Infanticide too common, of females, 182. 

Interest, rates charged to cultivators, 

Irrigation works, closing natural 
drainage outfall, 44, from main 
channel, 29; charge for water, 179, 
from wells, 11. 

Java management compared with that 
of India, 167. 

Jeypore, fine city, 69 ; Palace and estab- 
lishment, 69; reception by Maharajah, 
70 ; good management of public 
works, 71 ; rent partly in money and 
part in kind, 71 ; deserted capital of 
Ambair, 72 ; beautiful apartments in, 

Jhansi, distress there, 100. 

Jhodpore, High revenue of, 76. 

Jollarpet, Descent to, 148. 

Jowar, value of fodder, 87. 

Juggernaut, 125. 

Jung, Sir Salar, his stud and palace, 163. 

Jungle, its appearance, 24. 

Justice, mode of pressing re-considera- 
tion of decision, 88. 

Jute cultivation has greatly enriched 
Eastern Bengal, 118. 

Kaira, Rich country round, 182. 

Kaludgi, 166. 

Kappurtulla, Native state of, 58 ; 
Government tax 50 per cent, higher 
than in British territory, 58 ; head- 
men have better knowledge of people, 

Kind, Payment in, 218. 

Kistna irrigation, 128. 

Kootub, near Delhi, highest and finest 
tower in the world, 64 ; beautiful 
archway near, 64 ; iron pillar, 64. 

Labourers' diet in the Punjab, 50, 52 ; 

increasing proportion of, 223. 
Lahore, city and environs, 48 ; market 
. gardens near, 49 ; museum of, 56. 
Land, Assessment of, suggested method, 

222 ; landless people increasing, 140 ; 

landed and landless contrasted, 155 ; 

systems of land tenure, 114, 221 ; ex- 
cessive sub-division of, 114 ; at Dacca, 

121 ; at Vizigapatam, 126 ; Madras, 

Law, Courts of, 38 ; flogging for theft, 

38 ; costs of, in India compared with 

Scotland, 239. 
Life, Respect for, by Hindus, 182. 
Litigation and pleaders, 84 ; nine-tenths 

of cases decided by native judges, 10. 
Lucknow, Defence of, 80; population 

of city, 81. 
Lybian Desert, 6. 
Madras from the sea, 129; proportions 

of population, 130 ; several collec- 

torates in, as large as Belgium, 139 ; 

irrigation canal, 152. 
Madura, Palace of the king, 140 ; a 

great centre of missionary enterprise, 




Malabar Hill, fine situation, 189. 
Mallet, Sir Louis, on the function of 

rent, 247. 
Malta, as seen from the sea, 4 ; church 

of, with names of knights on pave- 
ment, 5. 
Mayo, Earl of, gave to each Province 

control of its public works, 244. 
Meade, Sir Eichard, 159. 
Memadabad, 181. 
Metapollium, ascent from plain at, 

beautiful scenery, 141. 
Missionary establishments in Punjab, 

57 ; Ajmere, 75 ; Bellary, 156. 
Money-lenders increased greatly by 

payment of rent in money instead of 

corn, 20. 
Moti Musjid, or pearl mosque of Agra, 

its exceeding beauty, 35. 
Mussowlie boats, Safety of, 128. 

Nariad, fine cultivation under wells, 

Native collectors, 58, 236 ; judges, 187. 
Native talent of all kinds ought to be 

encouraged, 237. 
Nizam, Higher rate of assessment in, 

159 ; land mostly held from the 

sovereign, 160 ; sub -division of farms, 

160 ; coal-field in, 160 ; revenue of 

state, 163. 
Northbrook, Earl of, his successful 

management of famine, 196. 
Nubia, Coast of, 12. 

Ootacamund, fine situation of, 142. 

Opium factory, 98. 

Oudh, Tenure of land in, 81. 

Palka dawk, 89. 

Parsees, mode of burial, 18. 

Patna, famine granary of, 108; beauty 

of country and cultivation, 108. 
Penar valley, rich and picturesque, 148. 
People, Silence of, in their distress, 38. 
Poona, charming city, 172. 
Population, Risk of over, 212, 248. 
Posting from Benares, 96. 
Potatoes largely grown, 87; value of 

crop, 90. 
Poverty, more seeming than real, 79. 

Price of food rising, complained of by 
consumers, 19. 

Prisoners at Secundra, Miserable 
condition of, 37, 

Prison management at Agra, 39 ; small 
proportion of female crime, 40. 

Private property in land, 249. 

Produce, increase of the indispensable 
work, 214. 

Provincial responsibility, 245. 

Punchayet Courts, 174. 

Punjab, Agricultural field work in, 53 ; 
three modes of irrigation in, 54 ; im- 
provable tracts of jungle in, 54 ; 
relation of cultivator to money- 
lender in, 55. 

Railway, construction policy, 110; 

satisfactory employment of natives 

on, 184. 
Rajah's management of his estate, 95. 
Rats, Plague of, 177. 
Red Sea, 9. 
Rent of land in Punjab, 49 ; in Deccan, 

170, 177. 
Revenue officer, certain cases left to his 

adjudication, 186. 
Rice, exported from Dacca, 122 ; 

harvest, 104. 
Roorkee, Engineering college and 

Government work- shops at, 62. 
Rule, dissatisfaction with British, 183. 

Said, Port, 6. 

Salt efflorescence, 59. 

Salt, Customs line abolished, 76. 

Salt, Consumption and price of, per 

family, 121 ; presses with unequal 

severity on poor, 20 ; cost of, to them, 

Sambre Salt Lake, unlimited supply of 

salt, 75. 
Secretaries have too much authority, 91. 
Settlement of land revenue, 39 ; of Lord 

Cornwallis one evil effect of, 106. 
Shark fishing in Indian Ocean, 14. 
Shevaroy Hills, 137. 
Sholapore, cotton factory, 164. 
Smith Baird, Col., 115. 
Soane Canal, its effects, 104 ; charge 

made for water, 106. 



Southal, Mode of paying debts iu, 111. 
Sowcars in Deccan willing to compound 

for half the debt, 168. 
Sub- division too great, Trichinopoly and 

Tanjore, 138. 
Suez Canal, 7 ; parliamentary supporters 

of, in 1858, 9 ; gulf of, beautiful 

effects of light, 9. 
Sugar, profitable crop, 165 ; its value 

per acre, 33; not easily injured by 

water, 59. 
Suggestions, 235 to 242. 
Suicide very common, 39. 
Surat, 180; earliest seat of British 

possession, 185. 
Sydapet, example farm, 133 ; experi- 
ments there, 134. 

Tahsildars, 78. 

Taj, The, at Agra, splendid monument 

to Shah Jehan's queen, 35. 
Talookdars of Oudh, 81, 85. 
Taptee, Railway bridge over, 180 ; valley 

and crops, 24. 
Temple, Sir Richard, 190. 
Tobacco culture, 99 ; produce, 100. 
Toddy distillation, 154. 
Trafalgar Bay, 2. 
Trichinopoly, Hindu temple, 137 ; 

Olive's house, 138 ; crops, 139. 
Tuccavi advances, 78. 

Ulwar, Native state of, food of different 
classes in, 68 ; wages in, 68 ; famine 
deaths, 68. 

Umritsur, golden temple and fine 
country, 56. 

Vellore, walled town, 149 ; good 
management and cost of food, 150. 

Villages near Bombay, 21, 25, 31 ; near 
Cawnpore, 31. 

Vizigapatam, Fine situation of, 125 ; 
streets in gala suit, 126. 

Wake, Mr., Heroic conduct of, at siege 
of Arrah, 108. 

Water, Charge for, 32 ; its value accord- 
ing to crops to which applied, 33. 

Wattle tree, recommended for shelter, 

Wedderburn, Sir William, 167. 

Well irrigation, Cost of, 133 ; luxuriant 
crops from, 86, 89, 92, 231. 

Wellington, Duke of, description of 
the Cauvery irrigation, 135 ; on the 
food of the people, 231. 

Western Ghats, Ascent of, 22. 

Wheat, Price of, at Cawnpore in Nov. 
1878, 30; sowing, 23; produce of, 
per acre, 30. 

Women doing men's work, 111 ; subjec- 
tion of, 145 ; at well, 40 ; grinding at 
the mill, 72. 

Wood, Country well clothed with, 25. 

Wynaad Gold Field, 144. 

Yarragoontha, the black soil, 153 ; five 
acres the minimum on which a family 
can live, 153. 

Yule, Colonel Robert, 115. 

Zenana Mission, 11. 


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